Sir Ronald Ross's Story: A Study in the Third Alternative

1920 Sociological Review  
SIR RONALD ROSS'S STORY: A STUDY IN THE THIRD ALTERNATIVE.T o the admirable series of Becent Advances in 8cience whidi appears quarterly in Science Progress there have been added sections deaUng with Education aad with Philosophy. But advances in Sodology continue to go unrecorded. Is the deficiency in lack of editorial discernment or in the arrest of sociology ? Doubtless something of both. Certainly there have been, and continue to be, noted advances by the several specialisms that compose
more » ... greater part of sociological knowledge. But how far haa the general sociologist incorporated these specialist advances into the working doctrine of the science*? What use has he made of them in puriiing forward our knowledge of the social process? Must it not be confessed that in verified and systematized knowledge of the social process, we have gone very Uttle ahead of the point where the founders left the science some two generations agoi The failure perhaps lies largely with the inabUity of the general sociologist to, discem dearly and describe precisely the represntative social processes in our complex communities of the contemporary world. These reflections are suggested by a narrative which Uie editor of 8orial Progress gives, in the current number, of his long campaign for the ajf^lication of his malarial discoveries, in practical statecraft. He tells how, about twenty yearB ago, having completed his experimental researches, he abandoned the doister of thonght aad entered the field of popular exposition and practical propaganda, in « crusade for the elimination of malaria from the British Empire. As a concrete illustration of the social prooess in actual working amongst contemporaries the story is iUuminating in its details. Going back to 1899, Sir Rtniald Ross says: " At that time I had just returned from India, where I had recenUy ascertained that protosoal pasasites, Uke higher parasites, may be ' metaxenous,' thirt, i*, may Uve in two alternate species of * host* '-in other word*, I had shown that certain parasites of malaria of men and birds readi their ' definitive stage' in Mrtain special of mosquitoes. Thi* meant, not only the finding of the exact manner in which malaria is communicated from maa to nuex, but aiK> how the disease may be prevented on a large seal*. The various guilty species of mosqaitoes coald now be easily idMitified by feeding them experimentaUy on cases of malaria, and then, when we had studied their habits by the usual means, wa should be able to control them aad the difsase carried by them wherever we wished to incur the coaiparativdy smaU expsose requited. On the voyage home in 1899 I had said to myself, ' In two yews ws shall stamp malaria out oi every city aod iai^ town possessing H«alth Oflleers and Sanitary Departments in British possessions.' For th* brsading-places of th« Aaopheliae mosquitoes ctxisist generally of small pods or paddles of certain types, mostly easily manageable by ordinary coolies instmoted by sanitary inspectors, or, in many other cases, by such minor engineering work as aay maaidpility or towa, or evw village coandl, oaa do. I had tfwak yMHrs of toil on the sabjaot; ao( 1. Tliis series of stadiss in Tke TMrd Altetnatipe it wiB b* namtaiMnd M* hf membws of the Cities Conaaittee. Tlie Sooology Society bpars no Md., Soe.
doi:10.1111/j.1467-954x.1920.tb02217.x fatcat:e34hcdxg4rfxhjcspwtjboplkm