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Manufacturing Penicillin: Industrial Policy, Gender And The Antibiotic Factory

María Jesús Santesmases
Published 2018 · Political Science

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A detailed reconstruction of early negotiations on the building of two penicillin factories in Spain is combined in this chapter with a gender approach to the organisation of factory work. This enables me to explore industrial and health policies of the 1940s, and their relation to their recent past: public health and medical practice prior to the Civil War and WWII. Links between these two professional and political domains will be analysed to account for the negotiations with US firms that led to the production of penicillin, and later other antibiotics, by two government-sanctioned firms. Protection and control strategies combined with foreign industrial and scientific relations made industrial agreements possible, initiating domestic penicillin manufacture from 1950 onward. The participation of women in these factories and the division of labour between men and women will be explored in relation to the symbolic gendered values associated with penicillin.



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