By Catherine Waldby
This booklet demonstates the level to which establis hed principles in regards to the virus, the immune process, the HIV try and the epidemiology of the disorder rely on unexamined, conservative assumptions approximately sexual identification and sexual distinction.
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Extra resources for AIDS and the Body Politic: Biomedicine and Sexual Difference (Writing Corporealities)
Biomedicine’s desire to ‘explain’ sexual identity in terms of genetics is not itself generally interrogated, nor are its concepts of identity, ‘genes’ or ‘causality’, generally unpacked. A second way to think about the political implications of the nature/culture distinction is to consider how it organises the institutions of knowledge, the disciplinary borders of the academy. As I noted earlier, it determines what kinds of objects are considered appropriate to what kinds of knowledge practices, so that ‘natural’ objects are studied in the sciences, and social and cultural objects in the social sciences and the humanities.
Their study documents the slippage between various kinds of analogic intuitions, vague proposals and circumstantial considerations in the research process as they observed it, and the presentation of the process in professional journals as logical, deduced from the logic of the object that has been ‘discovered’. The rhetoric of ‘discovery’ effectively involves a kind of fetishisation of the object, where it gradually takes on the qualities attributed to it by scientists, and finally turns into a ‘fact’.
This hygienic individuation involves the pathologisation of bodily orifices and body fluids, points of permeability and fluid excess that confuse the distinction between the body’s inside and outside. Nettleton’s (1992) history of dentistry indicates, for example, that the mouth became the object of anxiety about infection during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, after the ascendancy of germ theory. An examination of the public health literature of this time reveals that ‘points of contact’ were of particular significance.
AIDS and the Body Politic: Biomedicine and Sexual Difference (Writing Corporealities) by Catherine Waldby