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Medicine and culture in the nineteenth century

This collaborative volume explores changing perceptions of health and disease in the context of the burgeoning global modernities of the long nineteenth century. During this period, popular and medical understandings of the mind and body were challenged, modified, and reframed by the politics and structures of ‘modern life’, understood in industrial, social, commercial, and technological terms. Bringing together work by leading international scholars, this volume demonstrates how a multiplicity of medical practices were organised around new and evolving definitions of the modern self. The study offers varying and culturally specific definitions of what constituted medical modernity for practitioners around the world in this period. Chapters examine the ways in which cancer, suicide, and social degeneration were seen as products of the stresses and strains of ‘new’ ways of living in the nineteenth century, and explore the legal, institutional, and intellectual changes that contributed to both positive and negative understandings of modern medical practice. The volume traces the ways in which physiological and psychological problems were being constituted in relation to each other, and to their social contexts, and offers new ways of contextualising the problems of modernity facing us in the twenty-first century.

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–81. 89 In many ways, this returns us to the classical debates about technical fixes and horizontal changes that have characterised many imperial, global, and national health challenges: M. Worboys, ‘The discovery of colonial malnutrition between the wars’, in D. Arnold (ed.), Imperial Medicine and Indigenous Societies (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1988), pp. 208–25; A. Hardy, ‘Beriberi, vitamin B1 and world food policy, 1925–1970’, Medical History , 39:1 (1995), 61–77. For an interrogation of the idea of a technological fix: L. Rosner (ed.), The

in Managing diabetes, managing medicine
Dr Williams’ Pink Pills for Pale People and the hybrid pathways of Chinese modernity

and new, local and global, rather than arriving as a fully fledged cultural export from the West. These widely popular pills were marketed in Chinese-language publications in Shanghai from at least 1913 to 1941, and from even earlier in the North China Herald , an English-language newspaper that was also based in the city. While these Shanghainese advertisements employed the cutting-edge strategies of representation of the time, this progressiveness belies other aspects of the Pink Pills story, most notably its sustained reputation as backwards and outdated in the

in Progress and pathology
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, moreover, increasingly problematic throughout his analysis, as it is deployed to establish national and racial hierarchies in the context of modernity and modernisation, and to affirm the superior status of American social and economic institutions globally. Beard's descriptions of the disease were, as David Schuster has noted, ‘rife with religious, racial, and regional assumptions’. 5 Those peoples Beard regarded as content to live in ignorance, indifferent to science or the mysteries of life, or who lived robust

in Progress and pathology
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Managing diabetes, managing medicine

diabetes were as numerous as those from all infectious diseases put together’ during the 1930s, and estimates of the condition's prevalence rose steadily over the post-war period. 3 Likewise, medical professionals regularly referred to increases in workload and escalating consultations for the disease during the 1970s and 1980s; new technologies and understandings of risk management had extended the boundaries of treatment, whilst greater life expectancy and disease detection buttressed changes of demography, employment, leisure, and diet that probably underpinned

in Managing diabetes, managing medicine

Once again, however, it is important to place professional developments in the context of contemporaneous political and health service change. The 1970s and 1980s were decades in which economic turbulence and global programmes to address disease reinvigorated attitudes to prevention within primary care. Internationally, Marc Lallonde (Minister of National Health and Welfare, Canada) gave his famous set of talks on prevention and responsibility in 1974, and the World Health Organization (WHO) placed prevention at the heart of primary care in the influential Alma

in Managing diabetes, managing medicine
Daktar Binodbihari Ray Kabiraj and the metaphorics of the nineteenth-century Ayurvedic body

from the Zoroastrian Zend Avesta to the Christian Bible as well as the Quran and the Indic Vedas on the other, Ray pursued his key strategy of ‘breaking metaphors’. The fascinating cosmology he arrived at through his strategy and his elaborate mathematical calculations are too rich and complex to unpack here. But it included, amongst other things, an ancient race of man-lions, an extremely dark-skinned Aryan race inhabiting the Arctic regions at a time when the rest of the planet was simply too hot to sustain life, a global climate change attended by large

in Progress and pathology
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Health as moral economy in the long nineteenth century

/adapt E. P. Thompson's concept of a ‘moral economy’, developed to explain features of social relations at the beginning of the long nineteenth century, to the domain of social medicine. Next, à la Raymond Williams, I begin to consider ‘keywords’, here verbs of existential unacceptability. These are probes for social practices, and good ways to chart change. 3 The first is the ‘complaint’ of my title. Sections three and four explore the nineteenth-century antecedents of general patho-physiological processes that served

in Progress and pathology

In 1933, the German lawyer Friedrich Franz König published an essay on medical negligence. 1 He pointed out that the number of negligence cases in Germany had risen to unprecedented heights in recent times. The years 1927–29 had seen an increase of close to 50% of negligence cases, as the insurance statistics demonstrated. König suggested that such a rise was due to the global economic crisis that had hit Germany hard. 2 As a second argument for

in Progress and pathology

arthritis that we must look for the principal sources of mortality and morbidity.’ For Reid, medical advances, increased education, and economic growth might have conquered the diseases of the past, and they were probably the sources of progress in the future. In the present, however, this combination had also provided the conditions for ‘smoking … overeating, and … [lack of] exercise’ that caused ‘maladies of plenty’. 1 For Reid, and other Medical Officers of Health (MOHs), doctors, and lay persons involved in public health activity, this changed

in Managing diabetes, managing medicine