Bugs in the Blog: immunitary moralism in Anti-Microbial Resistance (AMR)

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This paper examines social theoretical literatures on immunity in the context of contemporary biopolitical debates about antibiotics and antimicrobial resistance (AMR). An exploration of contributions to the online forum ‘Mumsnet’ about antibiotic use and AMR serves as an empirical anchorage to these literatures. Five themes emerge from these data: ‘temporal constraints and technological fixes’; ‘restorative bodies’; ‘spatial othering’; ‘moral accountabilities’ and ‘domestic immunitary environments’. We offer the concept ‘immunitary moralism’ to capture the way antibiotics prompt moral reflection on immunity, biopolitical citizenship, bodily integrity and communal probity. We reveal how the moral politics of blame and immunitary othering are present in online debates about AMR, and explore the way these registers resonate with writings in biopolitical philosophy on the ascendency of immunitary individualism and tensions between community and immunity (communitas and immunitas).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
JournalSocial Theory and Health
Early online date25 Apr 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 Apr 2017

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