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Godde Kylian

PhD student in Health, Population and Social Policy, EHESS




Provisory title: The Decline of a Configuration: Organizing the fight against tuberculosis in France after the generalization of antibiotics (1945-1980)

Thesis work under the supervision of Jean-Paul Gaudillière and Luc Berlivet

This thesis aims to explore transformations in the ways of thinking about and treating pulmonary tuberculosis in France between 1940 and 1980. These changes occurred in the context of intense innovation in antibiotics, the generalization of social security and the institutionalization of a state-managed biomedicine. At the intersection of the history of sciences and knowledge and the socio-historical approach, my work is organized around three major axes.

The first centers on the stabilization of new therapeutic knowledges. As avatars of modernity, how were antibiotics and pulmonary exeresis surgeries mobilized by medical professionals to rethink tuberculosis in the 1950s?  I study the long process how a new therapeutic regime came to be and the resultants reconfigurations between medicine and surgery on one hand, and between hospitals and sanitoriums on the other.

The second handles the politics and mechanisms used in the fight against tuberculosis. How did public health officials adapt their practices to a new conceptual framework where the status of tuberculosis as a social blight is no longer self-evident? I explore the tension between the rise of large-scale prophylactic campaigns (radiological screenings, BCG vaccines), the internationalization of tuberculosis, and the active marginalization of public health approaches in the 1950s and 1960s.

Lastly, this thesis puts forth an analysis of restructuring procedures of French anti-tuberculosis mechanisms in the 1960s. What strategies do actors employ in the attempt to ensure the longevity of carriers and institutions? In this framework, I also examine the parallel medical mobilization in the fight against respiratory illnesses, involvment in favor of an epidemiology of Black people tuberculosis and the tensions surrounding the preservation of infrastructures like the sanatorium.

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