Concepts of ‘balance’ have been central to modern politics, medicine and society.
Yet, while many health, environmental and social challenges are discussed
globally in terms of imbalances in biological, social and ecological systems,
strategies for addressing modern excesses and deficiencies have focused almost
exclusively on the agency of the individual. Balancing the Self explores the
diverse ways in which balanced and unbalanced selfhoods have been subject to
construction, intervention and challenge across the long twentieth century.
Through original chapters on subjects as varied as obesity control, fatigue and
the regulation of work, and the physiology of exploration in extreme conditions,
the volume analyses how concepts of balance and rhetorics of empowerment and
responsibility have historically been used for a variety of purposes, by a
diversity of political and social agencies. Historicising present-day concerns,
as well as uncovering the previously hidden interests of the past, this volume’s
wide-ranging discussions of health governance, subjectivity and balance will be
of interest to historians of medicine, sociologists, social policy analysts, and
social and political historians alike.
The ‘pathology’ of childhood in late nineteenth-century London
supervising, controlling, and disciplining individual bodies.
With regard to ‘child rescue’, the moniker given to evangelical attempts at ‘improving’ the lives of children living in poverty in the late nineteenth century, the scholarship is less complete, especially when it comes to the sick and disabled.
By considering the treatment and experience of the impaired/disabled child in a voluntary organisation, the Church of England-sponsored Waifs and Strays Society, this
Dr Williams’ Pink Pills for Pale People and the hybrid pathways of Chinese
tale also suggests the ubiquity and pervasiveness of the product to which it alludes.
In real life, Dr Williams’ Pink Pills for Pale People never languished in the sea but made it across several oceans. This chapter examines advertisements for the product in Chinese-language publications in Shanghai during the early twentieth century, comparing them to English-language advertisements printed in Shanghai, England, and the United States. Much like the telephone poles that refuse to be silenced, the long advertising history of Dr Williams’ Pink Pills
Cancer, modernity, and decline in fin-de-siècle Britain
In 1899, the Contemporary Review published an article by the English physician Woods Hutchinson (1862–1930) entitled ‘The cancer problem: or, treason in the republic of the body’.
In this article, thick with metaphorical allusions and polemic, Hutchinson condensed to thirteen pages the diverse and fraught anxieties that attended cancer in late nineteenth-century Britain. He wrote about how, over the past thirty years, the ‘deaths per thousand living from this malady’ had doubled in England
Melissa Dickson, Emilie Taylor-Brown and Sally Shuttleworth
, modern China, and Victorian England.
In Japan, as Sabine Frühstück has argued, neurasthenia was closely connected to concerns about masculinity, masturbation, and homosexuality.
Contrastingly, debates about neurasthenia in nineteenth-century Argentina were, as Kristin Ruggiero's work on modern diseases in the national Argentinian identity demonstrates, deeply informed by historical, politicised disputes about national honour and social responsibility
After she and Lorenzo moved to London in the 1860s, Lydia continued her work as a health lecturer and district visitor; she furthered her medical studies in Paris and served three months in charge of the obstetrical department at the London Marylebone Road Hospital.
The early feminist periodical, The Englishwoman's Review , noted that the ‘largest halls in England have not infrequently been filled’ to hear Lydia's lectures, which encouraged women to ‘study for themselves’ the laws of
Visualising obesity as a public health concern in 1970s and 1980s
preservation long pre-dated these post-war health education initiatives and had been evident since at least the early modern period in England, where dietetic culture was central to medical understandings of the self.
But personal body management techniques including the control of diet and exercise endured as an essential part of personal identity and social worth in post-war Britain, where the consumerist society contributed to the creation of new disease-focused diet cultures. The centrality of the self to risk factor
the notion of balance figured in alcohol health education in England during the 1970s and 1980s. It suggests that the development of campaigns which aimed to promote ‘sensible drinking’ reflected a shift away from focusing on those already experiencing problems with alcohol, predominantly alcoholics and heavy drinkers. This move was underpinned by changes in the philosophy and practice of public health. During this period, individual behaviour was increasingly seen as both cause and cure for public health problems. The linking of practices like smoking, overeating
Health as moral economy in the long nineteenth century
/inversion is evident. Both Agnes and a poor law official might call her ‘miserable’, but the first would mean ‘unhappy’ and the second, ‘contemptible’. Even more sharply than with ‘complaint’ the very word with which one makes a claim on a moral economy subverts the claim.
For two reasons we should not regard Agnes an ‘everywoman’, even for early nineteenth-century Britain. Her pregnancy and marital status are factors in the operation of a moral economy; so too is the New Poor Law itself, which in England, but not Scotland (or yet in Ireland) transferred
noted in Chapter 1, the NHS retained this exclusionary mentality so far as bed admission was concerned.
4 P. Jasen, ‘Breast cancer and the language of risk, 1750–1950’, Social History of Medicine , 15:1 (2002), 17–43, esp. pp. 21–35; A. Mackintosh, ‘The patent medicines industry in late Georgian England: a respectable alternative to both regular medicine and irregular practice’, Social History of Medicine , 30:1 (2017), 22–47, esp. 29–31. On the use and limitations of death certification for such assessments: A. Hardy, ‘“Death is the cure of