Standardisation in the History of Health and Medicine

Institut d'Anatomie pathologique, Hôpital Civil, 4 rue Kirschleger
Tricia Close-Koenig / Nils Kessel, Université de Strasbourg; ESF Research Networking Programme "Standard Drugs and Drug Standards"
06.12.2012 - 07.12.2012
Nils Kessel

Standard Exchanges. Workshop international sur la standardisation en histoire de la santé et de la médecine – An International Workshop on Standardisation in the History of Health and Medicine

Standardisation is omnipresent in communication, production, negotiation, and trade between partners. The means and processes of standardisation have been explored in industrial production and the manufacturing of large quantities, in the development of state health administrations and drug regulations, and in changes in therapeutic and bedside practices.

One aim of this workshop is to take a step back and reconsider or revisit what standardisation means or what it means to standardise, particularly in the sector of health and medicine. If we consider standardization procedures of molecules to be essential in production and in guaranteeing “quality” we have to ask how these efforts can be integrated in a larger history of standardization. For example, we can ask what standardisation implies on a finer organizational level, such as that proposed by economists who consider the concept of an organizational routine as an analytical lens for investigating and understanding organizational change.

This workshop will be centred on an exchange between historians, economists, political scientists and sociologists. The goal is to strengthen historical observations and examinations of standards by confronting diverging interpretations of standards, standardization and parallel entities, such as routines, norms and codes. We herein bring together studies that link the concept of standardization to a larger history of health and medicine, studies those that take a theoretically inspired approach of the relationship of standardization in economy and science, as well as contributions that look to apply, criticize or explore these concepts with regard to pharmaceuticals and history of drugs.


WELCOME ADDRESS (Institut d'Anatomie pathologique, salle 21)
9:00- 9:30 Nils Kessel & Tricia Close-Koenig (Strasbourg)
Opening remarks

9:30-10:15 Markus Becker (University of Southern Denmark, Odense)
Organizational routines and their role in understanding the behaviour and change of organizations
Commentator: Christian Bonah (Strasbourg)

10:15-11:00 Susanne Michl (Göttingen)
Time management in hospitals – economisation of medicine and professionalisation of health care management in twentieth-century USA
Commentator: Volker Hess (Charité, Berlin)

11:00-11:30 Coffee Break

11:30-12:15 Michael Bresalier (Imperial College, London)
Sharing viruses and vaccines: Economies of exchange in global influenza control since 1947
Commentator: Maria Jesus Santesmases (Madrid)

12:15-13:00 Discussion


AFTERNOON SESSION (Institut d'Anatomie pathologique, salle 19)
14:30-15:00 Magaly Tornay (Zurich)
Standardising the psychiatric personality (title to be confirmed)

15:00-15:45 Didier Torny (INRA, Paris, SAE2)
De la malformation néonatale aux effets transgénérationnels. Standardiser les effets tératogènes des substances/From neonatal malformation to transgenerational effects. Standardizing substances teratogenicity
Commentator: Jonathan Simon (Lyon)

15:45-16:15 Coffee Break

16:15-17:00 Robin Cowan (Strasbourg)
The explicit economics of knowledge codification and tacitness
Commentator: Christoph Gradmann (Oslo)

17:00-17:30 Discussion

(Amphithéatre de l'Institut d'Anatomie)
18:00-19:00 Stephan Timmermans (UCLA)
Standardizing the Exome: The Challenge of Indeterminacy and Uncertainty

20:00 Dinner

7 December 2012

MORNING SESSION (Institut d'Anatomie pathologique, salle 21)
9:30-10:15 Dan Carpenter (Harvard) & Jonathan Warsh (Oxford)
Therapeutic and Economic Effects of Efficacy-Based Drug Withdrawals: The Drug Efficacy Study Initiative and its Manifold Legacies
Commentator: Carsten Timmermann (Manchester)

10:15-11:00 Martin Lengwiler (Basel)
Standardizing human life in insurance: A comparative perspective on public health and private life insurance (20th century)
Commentator: Janina Kehr (Zurich)

11:00-11:30 Coffee break

11:30-12:15 Round Table Discussion
Panelists: Christian Bonah, Markus Becker, Volker Hess, Carsten Timmermann & Benjamin Coriat (to be confirmed)

12:15-12:30 Final remarks


Nils Kessel

DHVS, Faculté de Médecine
4 rue Kirschleger
F-67085 Strasbourg Cedex

+33 3 68 85 39 33

Standardisation in the History of Health and Medicine, 06.12.2012 – 07.12.2012 Strasbourg, in: H-Soz-Kult, 14.11.2012, <>.