Contagionism and Contagious Diseases by Thomas Rutten

By Thomas Rutten

Realizing how 'contagion' and 'infection' became robust metaphors calls for a ancient reconstruction of this semantic box within the overdue nineteenth and early twentieth century, whilst those strategies received a systematic that means. the quantity deals an interdisciplinary method of the cultural background of contagionism among scientific bacteriology, the social sciences and literary variations. The symbolic implications of 'contagion' and high-profile contagious illnesses are addressed, which mark the bounds among unwell and fit, time-honored and alien, morally natural and impure.

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But this normality vanishes in the face of an ocean of extreme abnormality: why in the same place and at the same time do some people contract epidemic diseases but others not? Or with regard to the bacteriological accomplishments of the nineteenth century: why do some individuals not get sick even though bacteria or viruses are demonstrable in their bodies on a massive scale? Why do some people pass on these pathogens, others not? Indeed, medicine and socio-epidemiology do not explain these normal cases of non-illness but rather automatically sort them out as irrelevant special cases.

51 – 74. Calmeil, Louis Florentin. De la folie considérée sous le point de vue pathologique […]. -B. Baillière, London: H. Baillière, 1845. ‘Social Contagionism’: Psychology, Criminology and Sociology 37 Carus, Carl Gustav. Ueber Geistes-Epidemien der Menschheit. Leipzig, Meissen: F. W. Goed’sche Buchhandlung, 1852. Cassirer, Ernst. Substanzbegriff und Funktionsbegriff. Untersuchungen über die Grundfragen der Erkenntniskritik. Berlin: Cassirer, 1910. Cheyronnaud, Jacques. ” La contagion. Eds Jacques Cheyronnaud, Philippe Roussin, and Georges Vigarello.

That’s the rub. Was does contagion mean here? It’s just a figurative expression! It is just a figurative expression. [Aber wie geschieht diese Ausbreitung? Durch ‚Ansteckung’. Da sitzen wir fest. Was heißt hier Ansteckung? Es ist doch nur ein bildlicher Ausdruck! ] (Hellpach 1906, 29) What, then, might contagion mean when broken down for the social sciences? Would it be an infection of a material kind? Something like the materialistic, naturalistic transmission of nervous vibrations? In order to isolate his subject – spiritual epidemics – he delimits them as a special case in the field of socio-pathological phenomena and mass mental illnesses.

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