KREIMER Pablo Rafael
congresos y reuniones científicas
Social needs and knowledge production in peripheral countries. Chagas as a poverty disease in Latin America during the XXth century
PABLO KREIMER; JUAN PABLO ZABALA
Congreso; XXII International Congress of the History of Science; 2005
Chinese Academy of Sciences
This paper aims to understand the complex relations between the emergence of social problems and the development of scientific knowledge oriented to their resolution. The interest on this topic is threefold: in first, most of the Latin American populations do not have satisfied their basic needs. Second, scientific groups have produced a considerable amount of knowledge oriented to grasp social problems. Third, however, the scientific knowledge produced during the last decades has not offered effective solutions to those problems. In order to accomplish our objective, we show the emergence of Chagas disease as a relevant social problem and the strategies for knowledge production oriented to its resolution during the last century in Argentina. Chagas disease is the most important endemic in Latin America (WHO, 2000), reaching 18 million people. Chagas is a poverty disease (most of affected populations are poor people living in rural areas under deficient housing conditions) and a neglected disease (international laboratories are not interested on producing new drugs to its treatment). Moreover, Chagas is a successful case of scientific development in Argentina and Brazil. Scientists working on Chagas have received a wide recognition, legitimacy, and prestige from the scientific international community. However, they have not brought an effective solution to therapy or vaccine regarding Chagas disease. In this paper we analyze, at first, the relation between the emergence of social problems and the linked scientific knowledge. Then we follow the Chagas path as a scientific object and as a social problem. Finally, we outline some remarks about the relation between social needs and scientific knowledge production on peripheral contexts.