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Unstable Frontiers: Technomedicine and the Cultural Politics of
     

Unstable Frontiers: Technomedicine and the Cultural Politics of "Curing" AIDS

by John Nguyet Erni
 

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Unstable Frontiers was first published in 1994. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.

"John Erni's heartfelt and insightful book is a valuable contribution to the study of the cultural politics of

Overview

Unstable Frontiers was first published in 1994. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.

"John Erni's heartfelt and insightful book is a valuable contribution to the study of the cultural politics of AIDS."–Jeff Nunokawa Princeton University

The "cure" for AIDS: The search goes on, keeping pace with our belief that AIDS is incurable. How such a seeming paradox works-and how it may well work against the proper treatment of the disease-is the subject of Unstable Frontiers, a probing, critical look at the cultural politics behind the quest for a cure for AIDS.

This massive commercial and scientific project, John Erni suggests, actually hinges on our contradictory definitions of the disease as curable and incurable at the same time. Drawing on diverse sources, from popular media to medical literature to cultural theory, he shows how the dual discourse of curability/incurability frames the way we think about and act on issues of medical treatment for AIDS. His work makes a major advance in our understanding of—and, perhaps, humane response to—a national crisis.

In his critique of the logic and fantasies underlying the double definition of AIDS, Erni explores a broad range of issues: the scientific paradigm used to develop AZT; the politics of alternative treatment practices, of clinical drug trials, and of AIDS activism; and the notions of time and temporality operating in AIDS treatment science. He also addresses the problematic popular themes, such as "AIDS is invariably fatal" and "Knowledge = Cure."

Unique in its approach to a social and political issue still in the making, the book reveals how AIDS has challenged technomedicine's historical position of authority-and in doing so, recasts this challenge in a powerful and ultimately hopeful way.

John Nguyet Erni is assistant professor of communication at the University of New Hampshire. He has published essays on AIDS and is currently working on a book about AIDS in Thailand.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
In densely academic prose, media professor Erni argues that our understanding of AIDS is inextricably bound up in the way we describe it. The author uses Foucault-inspired argument to zero in on the sociopolitical, medical, and, most of all, economic language that describes how the public and the medical profession really think about AIDS. Confusion over the efficacy of AZT and the reliance on conventional understandings of disease and its treatment has, Erni suggests, focused the issue of AIDS on a narrowly defined search for a magic bullet. This obsession with cure has come at the expense of long-term therapeutic treatment that could prolong the lives of AIDS patients. Erni also discusses the denigration of alternative treatments by the mainstream medical profession and the conspiratorially slow "timetable" of AIDS research. Because of its narrow focus and often impenetrable language, this title will be of interest primarily to academic and medical libraries. Lay readers will find Susan Sontag's AIDS and its Metaphors (Farrar, 1989) much more accessible.-Jeffery Ingram, Newport P.L., Ore.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780816623815
Publisher:
University of Minnesota Press
Publication date:
06/01/2009
Edition description:
Minnesota Archive Editions
Pages:
192
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.41(d)

Meet the Author

John Nguyet Erni is a professor in the Department of Cultural Studies at Lingnan University, Hong Kong. He has published numerous essays on AIDS.

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