The Social Construction of Disease: From Scrapie to Prion by Kiheung Kim

By Kiheung Kim

A old exploration of medical disputes at the causation of so-called ‘prion diseases’, this attention-grabbing publication covers ailments together with Scrapie, Creutzfeldt-Jakob illness (CJD) and Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE).

Firstly tracing the twentieth-century heritage of sickness learn and biomedicine, the textual content then specializes in the relatives among clinical perform and wider social ameliorations, earlier than eventually development upon the sociologically trained methodological framework.

Incisive and thought-provoking, The Social building of Disease offers a necessary contribution to that well-established culture of social background of technology, which refers essentially to the theoretical works of the sociology of medical knowledge.

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Extra info for The Social Construction of Disease: From Scrapie to Prion (Routledge Studies in the History of Science, Technology and Medicine)

Sample text

Furthermore, in the 1950s, the ARC decided to set up new research programmes on scrapie in Edinburgh and Compton. These projects would produce valuable results and controversial 30 Scrapie in Britain, 1730–1960 hypotheses. During the 1960s, the newly launched large-scale programmes in the UK produced valuable research outcomes and speculations. As we shall discuss in Chapter 3, the two research teams suggested quite opposite and conflicting ideas about the nature of the disease. Although the research programmes discovered the unusual properties of scrapie, which could help to understand the mechanism of the disease, the relations between the two centres quickly became strained, and eventually led to open controversy and rivalry during the 1960s and 1970s.

From these records, the disease was prevalent in much of southern England (Dorset, East Anglia, Lincolnshire, Devonshire, Oxfordshire, Cambridgeshire and so forth) under the names of ‘rickets’, ‘goggles’ and ‘rubbers’. Many farmers and landowners lost their flocks within a few years, and it resulted in serious economic losses in these regions. However, by the 1810s, this epidemic was gradually abating. Many authors in a series surveying agriculture in the various English counties referred to its decline between 1795 and 1813, when the disease gave less cause for concern in Dorset, Hampshire, Oxfordshire, Berkshire, Bedfordshire and Wiltshire (Vancouver 1808, 1813; Stevenson 1812; Young 1813; Cleeve 1840).

In particular, the institutional settings of veterinary and agricultural science played an important role in developing the research on scrapie. In the early days, a scrapie-like disease was recognised in terms of local knowledge. Knowledge of the disease was largely embodied in the crafts and practices of local farmers and shepherds. However, with the development of veterinary medicine, scrapie became recognised as an independent disease in sheep. In the first half of the twentieth century, scrapie became one of the main subjects of veterinary study.

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