Rather than ‘superbugs’ signifying recalcitrant forms of life that withstand biomedical treatment, drug resistant infections emerge within and are intricate with the exercise of social and medical power. The distinction is important, as it provides a means to understand and critique current methods employed to confront the threat of widespread antimicrobial resistance. A global health regime that seeks to extend social and medical power, through technical and market integration, risks reproducing a form of triumphalism and exceptionalism that resistance itself should have us pause to question. An alternative approach, based on a postcolonial as well as a ‘post-colony’ approach to health and microbes, provides impetus to challenge the assumptions and norms of global health. It highlights the potential contribution that vernacular approaches to human and animal health can play in altering the milieu of resistance.

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