Article Summary by Rachel Irwin
We are surrounded by health data, which became even more evident during the Covid-19 pandemic. Each day, newspapers published graphs and heat maps showing new cases. It is was not only epidemiologists, virologists and policy-makers who were interested in data, but also the general public and social media users who shared graphs and charts and participated in complex discussions about the robustness of data. This article uses the specific example of antimicrobial resistance to examine how global health data is visualized and communicated in popular culture. I look at how certain statistics take on a life of their own, and how these statistics explained through different metaphors, images and stories about a ’catastrophic’ future in which antimicrobial drugs, including antibiotics, stop working.
Rachel Irwin is a researcher in ethnology at the Department of Arts and Cultural Sciences, Lund University. Her research is on health policy, globally and in Sweden.