History and social sciences as medical research tools: The silicosis project and the investigation of the pathogenic effects of dust
IT : Il Mulino
825 - 857 p.
silica dust, diseases, history, social sciences, medical knowledge
The article presents a research on the potential role of silica dust in association with a range of systemic idiopathic diseases (sarcoidosis, systemic lupus, systemic scleroderma, rheumatoid arthritis,...). In this interdisciplinary project, the recourse to history helps coordinating a medical knowledge which is fragmented: a) between disciplines (pulmonology, anatomopathology, internal medicine, pediatrics, genetics, occupational medicine); b) between specialists from the various diseases involved; c) between occupational and environmental diseases. History and the social sciences also help to understanding the «agnotological» processes of ignorance, forgetfulness and non-stabilization of knowledge. Collaboration with historians transforms, literally, the way how physicians question these diseases, whose risk factors are so transversal and heterogeneous that they become hardly visible.