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What can one man accomplish, even a great man and brilliant scientist? Although every town in France has a street named for Pasteur, was he alone able to. Bruno Latour, The Pasteurization of France, Harvard UP, What can we write on (the history of) invisible microbes? Maybe we can write on. BRUNO LATOUR The ‘Franslatcd by Aian Sheridan andjolin r^iw The Pasteurization of France Bruno Latour Translated by Alan Sheridan and John Law.

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In other words, to explain the science of the Introduction 9 Pasteurziation, we must describe it without resorting to any of the terms of the tribe.

The Pasteurization of France – Bruno Latour – Google Books

Depending on its equipment, the enemy cannot get through everywhere, but only in a few places. With the Pasteurian innovation, there left nothing untouched by its impact. Then he adds, without actually citing Pasteur: We do not know what happened, but pasteurozation can be sure that a multitude of people took part in the work and that a subtle translation, or “drift,” of their intentions led them to the little village in order to watch vaccinated and unvaccinated sheep withstand tests.

The Revue Scientifique, a general weekly review founded in the mid-nineteenth century and written by scientists themselves for a wider educated public, falls somewhere between Scientific American and the general-interest pages of Science. Other researchers than Pasteur? Tolstoy attacks the ltaour of Napoleon showing how he was only a part of the war, Latour does the same with Pasteur.

Irreductions Introduction 1. Overall, sadly, a perfect example of a mind left rotten from reading too much French postmodernism. But it is with Freud that the resemblance is greatest. Latour concludes that the revolution in medicine in the 19th was not attributable solely to Pasteur. Such a view is no more tenable than is the statement that Kutuzov defeated Napoleon.

We cannot, Koch claims, generalize from one animal to another, nor from animal to man, nor from one disease to another, nor from the vaccination of a few individuals to that of all individuals.

Read this in my Sociology of Medicine university course. A single mi- crobe may endanger everything. Against everything at once, but with no certainty of success. It is not that there is a science done in lahour laboratory, on the one hand, and a society made up of groups, classes, interests, and laws, on the other.

However, what Latour tries to investigate is neither that society simply constructs the natural reality nor that nature determines social conditions.

As McNeill suggests when discussing the millenium-long struggle between the microparasites and the macroparasites, a struggle that seems to him to be the motive force of history, the scale is turned in favor of the macroparasites.


It is the actors that thus redefine their worlds and decide which must now be taken into account”. The actors periodize with all their might. Latour does a good job at showing the social and cultural prerequisites necessary to encourage the Paasteurization to accept Pasteur’s microbes as revealed truth, as well as the process by which these conditions are obscured in favor of the “Great Man” thesis. Refresh and try again.

The confidence in the “way laid down” by Pasteur must therefore derive from something other than the facts, hard facts.

Traveling with cow’s milk is another animal that is not domesticated, the tuberculose bacillus, and it shps in with your wish to feed your child. The lesson in sociology that Pasteurians and hygienists give to their time and to sociologists of science is that if we wish to obtain economic and social relations in the strict sense, we must first extirpate the microbe.

But this is quite impossible, first because, when others were presented with the same evidence, it was regarded as disputable and second because the trust accorded to Pasteur was so great that it must have been based on something else.

An idea, even an idea of genius, even an idea that is to save millions of people, never moves of its own accord. Although epistemologies have varied over time, they have al- ways been war machines defending science against its enemies — first in the good old days against religion, then against some of the illusions generated by too much optimism in science itself, still later against the dangers that totalitarian states represent for the autonomy of free scientific inquiry, and finally against the abuses of science distorted by politicians or corporate interests.

All ;asteurization other sciences either influence only sections of society or require such a long-term media- tion that in the end industry or the military always intervenes. Everything must be considered. It was a matter of elementary technological forecasting on the basis of a research program that had already been initiated; all that had to be done was to wait and pick the fruit.

Sur- rounded by violence and disputation, we would hke to see clearings — whether isolated or connected — from which would emerge incon- trovertible, effective actions. Those who reject social studies of science reject passteurization because they believe it pasteurizationn reducitonist and is ignorant of science.

This patriotism and bacterio- centrism are honorable enough, but they contradict the whole of the Strong Microbes and Weak Hygienists 25 article. Throughout the s and s, LaTour has written about the philosophy and sociology of science in an original, insightful, and sometimes quirky way.


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Pasteur’s success depended upon a whole network of forces, including the public hygiene movement, the medical profession both What can one man accomplish, even a great man and brilliant scientist? We cannot understand anything about Pasteurism if we do not reahze that it has reorganized society in a different way. By generalizing both the Pasteurian and the hygienist everywhere, the desire to get rich was no longer thwarted.

They are all cre- ating — this is the important point — new sources of power and new sources of legitimacy, which are irreducible to those that hitherto coded the so-called political space. The civilian doctors were slow to adopt Pasteur. Let us look at it more closely. For those who cannot accept any story unless it has an “infra- structure,” it is possible to give the “cause” of the whole Pasteurian adventure.

Is this an “ideological” rendering of what really caused the French defeat? For all these reasons it was necessary to speak of “morbid spon- taneity. The first section of the book, which retells the story of Pasteur, is a vivid description of an approach to science whose theoretical implications go far beyond a particular case study.

It is an ill-composed entity which excludes most of the elements that allow it to exist. Instead there are only actants or actors who are part of network and who are a network themselves. Pasteur to provide us with a few new discoveries as fruitful as the previous ones”p.

It could not be reduced to that proliferation of exhibits, but neither could the entire exhibition be reduced to the laboratory. Pasteur want to find a cure and needs to multiply the microbes to investigate them. The first sets up the forces one on top of the other and enables us to explain how a whole period is interested finds itself interested in what is happening in Pasteur’s laboratory; the second mechanism attributes responsibility for the command to one member in the crowd.

Even the human being is too narrow a field; they must concern themselves also with air, light, heat, water, and the soil Trelat: A hygienist like Bouchardat always adds, without sub- tracting anything at all. He then finds the same gonococcus in the mother’s wounds and in the puss discharging from the infants’s eyes.