Controlling Bacteria in a Post-antibiotic Era

Popular Ideas about Bacteria, Antibiotics, and the Immune System

in Ethnologia Europaea
Author:
Kristofer Hansson Department of Social Work, Malmö University kristofer.hansson@mau.se

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https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9039-2201
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Rachel Irwin Lund University rachel.irwin@kultur.lu.se

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This article addresses people’s experiences with bacteria and the human body and examines the cultural meanings regarding concerns that society likely is running out of effective antibiotics. The empirical material comes from Sweden, and our analysis is framed through perspectives from the medical humanities. The interdisciplinary goal is to better understand the societal challenges of antibiotic resistance in the advent of a so-called post-antibiotic era. The study presents results from the “If antibiotics stop working” questionnaire which was distributed with the help of The Folklife Archives with the Scania Music Collections at Lund University. We argue that the concept of a post-antibiotic era can open a more imaginary way of thinking about what future relationships are possible if antibiotics were to lose their curative power.

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