Therapeutic revolutions : pharmaceuticals and social change in the twentieth century / editors, Jeremy A. Greene, Flurin Condrau, and Elizabeth Siegel Watkins.

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About this work


When asked to compare the practice of medicine today to that of a hundred years ago, most people will respond with a story of therapeutic revolution: back then we had few effective remedies, now we have more (and more powerful) tools to fight disease, from antibiotics to psychotropics to steroids to anticancer agents. This collection challenges the historical accuracy of this revolutionary narrative and offers instead a more nuanced account of the process of therapeutic innovation and the relationships between the development of medicines and social change. These assembled histories and ethnographies span three continents and use the lived experiences of physicians and patients, consumers and providers, and marketers and regulators to reveal the tensions between universal claims of therapeutic knowledge and the actual ways they have been used and understood in specific sites, from postwar West Germany pharmacies to twenty-first century Nigerian street markets. By asking us to rethink a story we thought we knew, "Therapeutic Revolutions" offers invaluable insights to historians, anthropologists, and social scientists of medicine.


Chicago ; London : The University of Chicago Press, [2016]

Physical description

321 pages : black and white illustrations, charts ; 23 cm


Medicine made modern by medicines / Jeremy A. Greene, Flurin Condrau, and Elizabeth Siegel Watkins -- Futures and their uses: antibiotics and therapeutic revolutions / Scott H. Podolsky and Anne Kveim Lie -- Reconceiving the pill: from revolutionary therapeutic to lifestyle drug / Elizabeth Siegel Watkins -- Magic bullet in the head? psychiatric revolutions and their aftermath / Nicolas Henckes -- Revolutionary markets? approaching therapeutic innovation and change through the lens of West German IMS health data, 1959-1980 / Nils Kessel and Christian Bonah -- Recurring revolutions? tuberculosis treatments in the era of antibiotics / Janina Kehr and Flurin Condrau -- Pharmaceutical geographies: mapping the boundaries of the therapeutic revolution / Jeremy A. Greene -- After McKeown: the changing roles of biomedicine, public health, and economic growth in mortality declines / Paul Farmer, Matthew Basilico, and Luke Messac -- Chemotherapy in the shadow of antiretrovirals: the ambiguities of hope as seen in an African cancer ward / Julie Livingston -- Volatility, speculation, and therapeutic revolutions in Nigerian drug markets / Kristin Peterson -- Therapeutic evolution or revolution? metaphors and their consequences / David S. Jones -- A therapeutic revolution revisited / Charles E. Rosenberg.

Bibliographic information

Includes bibliographical references and index.


Where to find it

  • LocationStatus
    History of Medicine
    Open shelves

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  • 9780226390734
  • 022639073X