Prefiguring ‘Pasteurization’? : Science, Society, and the Introduction of Vaccination to Siam

Quentin (Trais) Pearson





This article is an attempt to apply the critical insights and theoretical tools of science studies to the case of the introduction of vaccination in nineteenth century Siam. By briefly reviewing the introduction of vaccination in other Asian states, this article offers a comparative approach to the question of the role of political culture in the spread of Western medicine. While the article focuses rather narrowly on the practice of vaccination against smallpox in Siam, the intention is to offer a critical perspective on the prevailing narrative of medicine and the modern state. The article concludes with a proposed alternative model for investigating the relations between science and society in a way that preserves the work-like nature of spreading knowledge and the inherently social channels through which knowledge moves.


(Published in Rian Thai: International Journal of Thai Studies, Volume 5/2012, Page 179-208)


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