A Disease of Society: Cultural and Institutional Responses to AIDS

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Cambridge University Press, Feb 22, 1991 - Medical - 287 pages
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The impact of AIDS cannot be adequately measured by epidemiology alone. As the editors of this volume argue, AIDS must be understood as a "disease of society," which is challenging and changing society profoundly. Numerous books on AIDS have looked at the ways in which our social institutions, norms and values have determined how the disease has been dealt with, but this book examines the ways in which AIDS is, in turn, changing our social institutions, norms and values. Eleven chapters explore the impact of AIDS on the arts and popular entertainment, the effects of the disease on our concept of family, on government and legal institutions and on the health services, and the ways in which AIDS is forcing society to come to terms with longstanding tensions between community values and individual rights. The authors are drawn from a broad range of disciplines, bringing to the book the insights of sociology, law, public health, philosophy, political science, psychology, journalism and medicine. This book provides the first assessment of the impact of AIDS on American life from such a diverse set of perspectives, and it will be of interest to anyone concerned with the effect of the disease on our society. Earlier versions of some of these articles have appeared in The Milbank Quarterly and have since been substantially revised.
 

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Contents

IV
17
V
43
VI
45
VII
71
VIII
84
IX
117
X
119
XI
150
XII
172
XIII
189
XIV
191
XV
216
XVI
241
XVII
273
XVIII
277
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About the author (1991)

A sociologist, science policy researcher, and teacher, Dorothy Nelkin has been a faculty member of Cornell University for most of her career. Born in Boston, Massachusetts, she worked as a senior research associate in the Science, Technology, and Society Program at Cornell University from 1969 to 1972. Her first book, Migrant: Farm Workers in America's Northwest (1971), reflects her interest in the process of social and science policy making. Nelkin's subsequent books present case studies of the various factors that affect governmental decision making and policy development. She has focused on the dynamics of controversy, the role of citizen's groups, the press, and governmental or legal authorities in most of her studies. Nelkin was involved personally in a science-related social controversy, when a power company proposed building a nuclear power plant on Cayuga Lake. She has moved on to wider-ranging controversies related to governmental housing, weapons research at MIT, methadone maintenance, textbooks and the creation-evolution debate, use of biological tests, the antinuclear movement in France and Germany, and AIDS. Two of her books, Science as Intellectual Property (1983) and Selling Science (1988), examine scientific information - who owns it, who controls it, and how it is presented to the public. Perhaps her most well-known book, Controversy: Politics of Technical Decisions, presents a diverse collection of case studies, especially valuable for classroom use. In 1992, the book appeared in its third revised edition. Nelkin's prolific writing career has been supported by grants, as well as by visiting scholar and consultant positions. She has been awarded fellowships by the Guggenheim Foundation, National Science Foundation, and the Russell Sage Foundation. She has held visiting scholar appointments at Resources for the Future, Hastings Institute, and at research institutes in Berlin and Paris. Nelkin was an adviser for the Office of Technology Assessment and is a member of the National Advisory Council to the National Institutes of Health Human Genome Project. She also is a member and serves on the boards of directors of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing, Medicine in the Public Interest, and Society for the Social Studies of Science. After her initial appointment in Cornell's Science, Technology, Society Program, Nelkin became professor of sociology at Cornell from 1972 to 1989 and is now professor of sociology and affiliate professor of law at New York University. Nelkin is best known for establishing the case study method in interdisciplinary science/technology/society studies.

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