Last month, when the University of Nottingham in the UK opened its new Centre for Healthcare Associated Infections, a facility dedicated to studying and controlling "superbugs," The Guardian newspaper interviewed its director, Richard James, about why such a research center was necessary. He said:"This is a sophisticated army with astonishing weapons. And each time we develop something new, [bacteria] develop a defense for it."The use of such war metaphors in science and medicine is not new. As early as 1934, the British Medical Journal wrote about the "War Against Cancer," a phrase we still often hear. But today, militaristic language pops up in almost every scientific domain: conservation biology ("invasive species," "biosecurity"); global warming ("global war on global warming"); and biomedicine ("killer cells," "hitting multiple targets"). The attraction to such language is understandable, as it draws attention, and perhaps even funding (who can forget US President Richard Nixon's...
recent Lancet correspondenceaccused him of sensationalism and scaremongeringGeorge Lakoffas the enemyBrigitte NerlichStaphylococcus aureusMRSABrendon Larsoninvading speciesThe ScientistThe Breast Cancer Wars: Hope, Fear and the Pursuit of a Cure in Twentieth-Century Americawriter Susan Sontagmail@the-scientist.comThe Scientisthttp://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/14132/#41847?http://www.the-scientist.com/pubmed/17258666http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/shared/shared_exchange/pdf/feb07_10.pdfhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_LakoffThe Scientisthttp://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/15034/http://www.psychology.nottingham.ac.uk/staff/bn/The Scientisthttp://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/23374http://www.fes.uwaterloo.ca/ers/faculty/blarson.htmlThe Scientisthttp://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/12990The Breast Cancer Wars: Hope, Fear and the Pursuit of a Cure in Twentieth-Century Americahttp://www.amazon.com/Breast-Cancer-Wars-Pursuit-Twentieth-Century/dp/0195161068/sr=1-1/qid=1171037903/ref=sr_1_1/105-0602231-4458833?ie=UTF8&s=booksIllness as metaphor and AIDS and its metaphorshttp://www.amazon.com/Illness-Metaphor-AIDS-Its-Metaphors/dp/0312420137
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