Summary written by – Laurie Denyer Willis –

Addressing Antimicrobial Resistance through Social Theory introduces a range of traditional and contemporary theory, primarily from anthropology, and crucially demonstrates how these theories can be usefully applied to addressing AMR. The authors frame their analyses around three domains: antimicrobials in practice; antimicrobial resistance and policy; and the science of antimicrobial resistance. In each domain, we see how social theories can help us to see what we may be missing in our dominant narratives and explanations around antibiotics and resistance. The report therefore helps us to see why the apparently simple messages of “Antibiotics: Handle with Care” may not be easily taken up. For example, when we frame antibiotics as a precious resource, how easy at the same time is it to deny their use, to dispose of them rather than save them for the future? When we promote the preservation of these antibiotics for those accessing care through certified professionals, what does this mean for those whose main route for care is through informal providers? In the absence of antimicrobials, what constitutes care in settings where these substances are the centre of healthcare provision?

The report is an output of a Wellcome Trust funded seed award to Dr Clare Chandler, Dr Eleanor Hutchinson and Dr Coll Hutchison, three anthropologists working in the department of Global Health and Development at LSHTM. The report’s findings will help to shape the engagement of high quality social science in addressing the complex issue of antimicrobial resistance in a meaningful and interdisciplinary way.

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Categories: Care