to be included in international comparative research, but the sophisticated chapters in this volume invite us to engage in further research using the concepts and agendas of our Belgian colleagues. The editors invited me to comment on the volume and the potential of its ‘new narratives’. They even suggested a title for my epilogue – ‘Medicine Beyond Belgium’ – implying I take
narrative, emphasising the growing influence of medicine in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. First, it suggests that medicine had become the most authoritative field of knowledge regarding the body and health. Second, it illustrates the increasing impact of medicine in society: a preference for large, firm breasts – the beauty ideal – was represented as a medical issue, and the strategic use
infamously at Cawnpore, would be retained in the British national consciousness for decades to follow. This remembrance, however, was not just because of shock at the violence perpetrated by both British and Indian participants, but because the dual narrative of triumph in the face of adversity and national solidarity satisfied the British disposition towards mythologising their Imperial presence in India. Like other events in Anglo-Indian history, such as Robert Clive’s victory at the Battle of Plassey or the so-called ‘Black Hole’ of Calcutta, the Indian Mutiny became
This edited volume offers the first comprehensive historical overview of the Belgian medical field in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Its chapters develop narratives that go beyond traditional representations of medicine in national overviews, which have focused mostly on state–profession interactions. Instead, the chapters bring more complex histories of health, care and citizenship. These new histories explore the relation between medicine and a variety of sociopolitical and cultural views and realities, treating themes such as gender, religion, disability, media, colonialism, education and social activism. The novelty of the book lies in its thorough attention to the (too often little studied) second half of the twentieth century and to the multiplicity of actors, places and media involved in the medical field. In assembling a variety of new scholarship, the book also makes a contribution to ‘decentring’ the European historiography of medicine by adding the perspective of a particular country – Belgium – to the literature.
Parkinson's Disease – evident in other manifestations of neurology 11 – this chapter also explores an alternative, and equally ancient, narrative of balance about the dualism of creative genius. Roy Porter used William Blake's lament about the ‘mind forg'd manacles’ of the creative imagination to epitomise the eighteenth-century European Enlightenment's mirror of reason and madness. 12 My task here is to examine how balancing drug reception in the brain is bound to the
gives us a glimpse of what it meant to be treated in a hospital; and it tells us what was believed – by hospital administrators and the larger society – to be a poor patient’s rights, needs and duties in the early twentieth century. Narratives of teleological progress and of social control have for a long time dominated the analytical discourse of
series of ‘Belgian’ medical heroes, representatives of the Belgian nation in the (internationally competitive) field of the medical sciences. 2 This book does not intend to offer – like Broeckx’s work – a glorifying and legitimising narrative of ‘Belgian medicine’. Yet, it does take the national level as its starting point and point of synthesis by offering a set of medical
This chapter outlines how the organisation of financing of the cost of medicine has evolved since the late eighteenth century. The economic burden of caring and healing has been largely ‘mutualised’ over the past two hundred years. It is no longer individual patients who pay the largest part of medical fees, but society, with – as a consequence of the introduction of a compulsory social security system in 1944 – a key role for the state. However, the state delegated this redistribution to non-profit private health insurance funds – mutual societies – which, since the late nineteenth century, developed into central players in financing of healthcare. However, this narrative does not take into account public welfare at local level in financing the cost of care, nor the middle-class philanthropy and Catholic charity that characterised the field in Belgium as well.
The collectivisation of costs makes the discussion on how to fund the system an ongoing topic in the public space, while also tending to conceal the continued existence of major social differences. At the same time, the medical industry (private hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, etc.) became an important economic factor, both as an employer and as a central player in a knowledge-based economy. These changes had effects on the administration of care, requiring new forms of financial efficiency. As medicine became a business, different norms of management were introduced, which, in turn, were heavily criticised.
1945. In 2016 there were nine. 3 For the public health profession, this has been a major achievement over a period of some seventy years. As we have seen, this progress has not been linear, nor consistent. Nevertheless, the mature vaccination system in Britain has created and reflects Jacob Heller's vaccine narrative – people believe that vaccines work, that they are safe and that they are an integral part of the modern, functioning British state. 4 Anxieties over outbreaks such as the 2012 measles outbreak in Swansea also seem to suggest that vaccination is part
outset. 17 The Medical Officers of Health (MOH) reports, first produced in 1848, ran parallel to the GRO's output. They, too, provided vital data on birth and death rates, infant mortality, incidence of infectious and other diseases, and a general statement on the condition of the population. The MOHs tabulated causes of death according to disease and stratified by age. From 1856, the reports included cancer in their nosology. Narrative prefaces to each annual report situated individual investigations within a broad