Immunity in Context: Science and Society in Dialogue

Alfred I Tauber

Abstract


Without disputing the richness of the original incarnation of the immune self – conceived in segregated terms and defended by immunity – this useful heuristic is undergoing transformation. A relational or dialectical orientation has supplemented this incarnation of selfhood from an exclusive focus on the defensive scenario to one that now accommodates more expansive ecological intercourse, one in which active tolerance allows for cooperative exchanges within both the internal and external environments. This revision that emphasizes communal relationships finds support in the social matrix.  Just as the autonomous immune self found its own conceptual coordinates in modernist notions of personal identity, changing cultural values, revised notions of personal identity, and the vast growth of ecological awareness resonate with shifts in theorizing about immunity.  Such correspondence highlights the ready movement of potent metaphors between the laboratory and its supporting culture.


Keywords


immunology; immunity; selfhood; immunization; ecology; individuality

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1387/theoria.14560

 

 

 

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