‘There is worse to come’: The biopolitics of traumatism in Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)

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This paper reflects on the different futures and imaginaries constructed through the politics and policy of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). We examine the role of catastrophism, trauma and notions of ‘resistance’ expressed at different moments in the development of the AMR debate. The paper focuses on a number of imaginaries in the politics of AMR, particularly a characterisation of Britain as the ‘sick man of Europe’ or the ‘British disease’ and, more recently, the catastrophist prospect of a ‘return to the dark ages of medicine’. We draw upon recent writing in biopolitical philosophy on immunity and autoimmunity, particularly in the work of Derrida and Sloterdijk, to interrogate immunitary politics of AMR at the intersections of the human and the microbial.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)493-508
Number of pages18
JournalThe Sociological Review
Issue number3
Early online date27 Feb 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2017

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© 2016, Sociological Review Publication Limited.This is an author-produced version of the published paper. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self-archiving policy. Further copying may not be permitted; contact the publisher for details.


  • Antimicrobial resistance
  • Autoimmunity
  • Catastrophism
  • Imaginaries

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