The Pasteurization of France, trans. A. Sheridan and J. Law, Cambridge Mass.: Harvard University Press, , BRUNO LATOUR The ‘Franslatcd by Aian Sheridan andjolin r^iw The Pasteurization of France Bruno Latour Translated by Alan Sheridan and John Law. The Pasteurization of France [Bruno Latour, Alan Sheridan, John Law] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. What can one man accomplish.

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Full text of “Bruno Latour The Pasteurization Of France ( )”

Strong microbes and weak hygienists. Such a view is no more tenable than is the statement that Kutuzov defeated Napoleon.

When you bring a woman to birth, you think you are in the presence of three agents — the midwife, the baby, and the’ mother — but a fourth takes advantage of the situation to pass from your hands to the woman’s wounds. We might also say that it represents a dominant point of view — a point frznce view that was therefore vic- torious in a battle fought with other agents pursuing other aims at other times.

It should be stressed that all these quotations are taken from authors who are extremely dubious about contagionist theories, have hardly heard pasteurizatiob asepsia, and are writing some latoyr years before the slightest appUcation of bacteriology to human medicine. Depending on its equipment, the enemy cannot get through everywhere, but only in a few places. Irreduction of The Sciences. Their idea of society is borrowed from classical mechanics: Both had the same cause.

Going against much of the crowd, the first part of the work has significantly more substance than his ‘Irreductions. This is true at least where thf are concerned. They have only to concentrate their forces at those points for their weakness to turn into strength. In order to make their position permanent, the hygienists had to set up the greatest possible “potential oatour between the “in- disputable conquests” of science and the “ditherings of the public authorities.

Recog- nizing the similarity among aUies, I offer no a-priori definition of what is strong and what is weak. This unexpected strengthening is not in itself “reactionary,” as suggested by some authors who are used to speaking only of power and who see hygiene as a “means pasteueization social control.


Lasteurization, just as every discovery in chemistry emanates from Lavoisier? We cannot count on epistemology to get us over this disappoint- 6 War and Peace of Microbes ment. I am not using the word “agent” in any metaphorical or ironical sense but in the semiotic sense.

A Strong Microbes and Weak Hygienists 5 1 third turn of the ratchet. He doesn’t fall into deterministic traps that society controls everything or that science or scientists develop irregardless of social forces.

The Pasteurization of France – Bruno Latour – Google Books

Sometimes the hygienists give a definition of their science that is coextensive with reahty. Sur- rounded by violence and disputation, we would hke to see clearings — whether isolated or connected — from which would emerge incon- trovertible, effective actions.

It could not ignore the details that it had accumulated for hundreds of years, unless pasteruization could hierarchize them in order of importance. Instead of leading to sociological reductionism, this method leads to an unexpected irreductionism.

Capitan distinguishes in a different way between what is be- neficent and what is harmful, what is useful and pasteurizagion is useless, what acts and what does not.

But what is it that watches over health? A friend of Pasteur’s gives this account: As soon as they redeployed their forces, eliminated a lot of knowledge, and structured the advice available around the obligatory points of passage, they could ignore a large part of the opinion of the ancients and drop whole areas of what by this time had become “traditional” hygiene.

Once they had accumulated everything; now they ordered. Between the beer and the brewer there was something that some- times acted and sometimes did not. Indeed, the fundamental problem of the hygienists is that this multiplicity, so short on remedies and details, did not protect them against failure.

The Pasteurization of France

Here again we must not, in our study of the texts, be more precise than the Revue itself. These spaces of time are not enough to distinguish between and ! When ten years later it was discovered that cholera had only a five-day incubation period, the quarantine could safely be reduced to six days. Nor do we have to know in advance what is important and what is negligible layour what causes shifts in the battle we observe vrance us.

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The social move- ment into which Pasteur inserted himself is a large part of the efficacy attributed to Pasteur’s demonstrations. The problem we now face is to understand that obscure mixture of war and peace in which labora- tories are only one source of science and politics among many sources.

So what conclusion should we draw when we hear historians, es- pecially French historians, describe not the victory or defeat of Na- poleon but the victories of Pasteur, that other French genius, over the microbes? Fourth and last, it seems impossible to deny that Pasteur’s rapid successes were due to the application at last of scientific method in an area that had been left too long to people groping in the dark. It was also the impression gathered by the French, who took this brief encounter with the Cossacks of Orlov- Denissov as a major defeat.

Bruno Latour – The Pasteurization of France

Latour here selects some control groups and sees how they reacted to Pasteur. The first section of the book, which retells the story of Pasteur, is a vivid description of an approach to science whose theoretical implications go far beyond a particular case study.

Protect the wounds and not the environment: Pasteur was able to trigger anthrax in chickens in his laboratory. Doubt pasteuruzation not in the direction of science pasteurizzation toward the inertia of the public authorities. This double game of explanation — one creating po- tency, the other setting out the trials of strength — might seem no more than an amusing oddity.

In an article on the role of microbes in society, Capitan sums up his thinking: After the cure of Joseph Meister alone, Richet exclaims: