Document Type



Aida Heredia

Publication Date



This paper is restricted to users on the Connecticut College campus until November 22, 2023.


This thesis titled "Genetic Capitalism: The Anthropological Evolution of Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria" explores the evolution of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) genotypes in bacteria and its impact on our destruction of a once symbiotic relationship with bacterial species. By taking an anthropological approach, I investigate how material relations, social institutions, cultural meanings, and political relations within and beyond the microcosm of bacteria have led to mass bacterial resistance. In the course of my research, I examine the cultures of bacterial cultures and their interactions, as well as the language of bacteria and their social intelligence, in order to anthropomorphize bacterial species that are well understated in their similarity to human cultures, languages, and economics. I also analyze the concept of bacterial capital and class struggle and the paradox of capitalist medicine as it exists in the 21st century, through the lens of political movements, activism, and critical pedagogy. Finally, I explore the legacy of historical events, such as Franco's dictatorship in Spain, on antibiotic resistance, once again drawing stark comparisons between human political resistance and bacterial antibiotic resistance. Through this research, I argue that incorporating soci-anthropological analyses into the design and interpretation of studies of human microbial biology can provide crucial insights into the specific individual, social, and political-economic factors that shape microbial relationships. As a future medical professional, I believe that understanding the historical, political, and anthropological dimensions of the problem is essential to developing effective solutions to the issue of mass bacterial resistance.

Available for download on Monday, May 22, 2023



The views expressed in this paper are solely those of the author.