Sociology and Social Policy Seminar: Antimicrobial resistance as a problem of values: Responsibility, opportunity, solidarity
Much has been written about the problem of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and the urgent action required to rein in this global threat. Addressing AMR is often operationalised as requiring urgent ‘behavior change’ of clinicians and of patients/communities, in combination with improving the drug development pipeline. Few have approached AMR as a challenge fundamentally embedded within the cultural fabric of modern societies and the (varied) ways they are organised economically, socially and politically. Here, drawing on a decade of work across a range of health contexts, I approach the problem of AMR as one of values and culture rather than of individual behavior. I reframe AMR as a social and political concern resulting from a confluence of factors and practices including: temporal myopia, individualisation, marketisation, and human exceptionalism. To effectively tackle AMR, I advocate solidaristic models that espouse collective responsibility and recognise relative opportunity to act rather than a continuation of the individualistic behavioural models that have, so far, proven largely ineffective.
About the Speaker
Alex Broom is Professor of Sociology at the Department of Sociology and Social Policy, School of Social and Political Sciences, The University of Sydney. He is recognised as an international leader in sociology, utilising highly innovative qualitative methodologies and social theory to provide novel understandings of the social, cultural, political and economic underpinnings of the key health challenges of the 21st Century. Within this work he is particularly interested in issues related to human subjectivities, vulnerability, social justice and solidarity. His current focus is on developing critical analyses of the social dynamics of cancer, palliative and end-of-life care and the global challenge of antimicrobial resistance across contexts and cultures.