Social Histories of Medicine is concerned with all aspects of
health, illness and medicine, from prehistory to the present, in
every part of the world. The series covers the circumstances that
promote health or illness, the ways in which people experience and
explain such conditions, and what, practically, they do about them.
Practitioners of all approaches to health and healing come within
its scope, as do their ideas, beliefs, and practices, and the
social, economic and cultural contexts in which they operate.
Methodologically, the series welcomes relevant studies in social,
economic, cultural, and intellectual history, as well as approaches
derived from other disciplines in the arts, sciences, social
sciences and humanities. The series is a collaboration between
Manchester University Press and the Society for the Social History
has no responsibility for the persistence or accuracy of URLs for
any external or third-party internet websites referred to in this
book, and does not guarantee that any content on such websites is,
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This chapter auto-critiques the editors early work (Crozier, Practising Colonial Medicine, 2007) for studying the Colonial Medical Service as a distinct entity, founded and run on shared principles, staffed by Europeans and micro-managed from Whitehall. The collection of chapters is introduced, particularly emphasising how each essay originally contributes to revising this flawed interpretation. The Colonial Medical Service is argued as being flexibly responsive to local demands, open to negotiation and cooperation with non-governmental partners, and very much different in reality to the unified image that is often assumed. Theoretically this dramatically pushes forward understandings of the history of government medicine in Africa, not least showing scholars that history is always on the move and can be rarely compartmentalised, despite the active public relations agenda of the British colonial government.