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.
years of age, and far less experienced’. Most importantly, ‘to cap his disadvantages’, Richardson ‘was a chronic diabetic’. Against all such odds, Richardson triumphed.
Success, the Journal keenly pointed out, was founded on Richardson learning ‘how to control his diabetes’ and restoring short-term physiological balance to his body. ‘As every “good” diabetic on insulin knows’, the article explained, ‘violent exercise rapidly burns up sugar in the blood, and, when playing games, great care must be taken to keep up the blood sugar to its right
balance not easily regained. Cognitive impairment can accompany progressive physiological decline, ending in frontal lobe dementia.
A cure for Parkinson's still eludes us, even as hopes run high among the experimental scientific community.
However, there has been a remarkable clinical managerial tool available from the 1960s, one that leverages dopamine substitution in brains where massive dopaminergic neuron death has triggered
devoid of balance, ravaged instead by the failed ideologies of nationalism, imperialism, communism, capitalism, fascism and liberalism. Following previous historical periods that Hobsbawm had referred to in turn as the age of revolution (1789–1848), the age of capital (1848–75) and the age of empire (1875–1914), the short twentieth century was extreme in two ways.
On the one hand, it was marked by oscillating moods and events ranging from early twentieth-century catastrophe, through a golden age in the decades after
Narratives of balance and moderation at the limits of human
The highest and coldest regions of the earth might seem an unpromising choice of location to find studies of balance and moderation; but throughout the twentieth century physiologists and other biomedical scientists used extreme environments as forms of ‘natural laboratory’ to study not only the limits of human performance and survival, but also the ways in which normality and balance were maintained, and altered, in the face of extreme external pressure – both physical and mental. Indeed, some of the earliest
Balance, malleability and anthropology: historical contexts
The conference that first incubated contributions to this collection was held at the University of Exeter over two days in June 2016 and coincided with the national referendum on Britain's membership of the European Union. On Friday morning, the irony of speaking about histories of ‘balance’ as the country proceeded to plumb some of the most polarised depths in recent memory did not pass unremarked. Some months previously, an invitation had been sent to potential speakers, giving some suggestions and guidance
Prompted by this report, and increased public interest in flight safety following the air crash in Kallang, in the mid-1950s pilots’ hours of work and rest were reviewed by national agencies, and in 1957 a new regulatory framework was introduced to control pilots’ schedules.
Based on a model of fatigue that had its roots in the late nineteenth century, the concept of balance was implicit in these regulations from the outset. The notion of fatigue was vague and contested throughout the twentieth century. Attempts to find a biological marker for fatigue
struggles to balance conflicting facets of his personality.
What Jaques added to these earlier, largely descriptive accounts was a psychoanalytical framework that provided a basis for not only explaining, but also mitigating, the ‘emotional impoverishment’ and psychological imbalance that appeared to be characteristic of midlife crises.
According to Jaques's wife and co-researcher, Kathryn Cason, it took twenty-five years for her
Dietary advice and agency in North America and Britain
‘PEOPLE CAN CHANGE: YOU HAVE IN YOUR HANDS a tool for changing your life’.
The title and first sentence of Dr Andrew Weil's bestseller 8 Weeks to Optimum Health , first published in 1997, encapsulates the style and language used in self-help and health advice literature on both sides of the Atlantic across the second half of the twentieth century. Analysis of this literature reveals cultural preoccupations with notions of balance and efforts to reframe the
balance, enjoy good health.
Accompanying a visual representation of a spinning and rapidly shrinking equilateral triangle, the narrator continued: ‘But how does one maintain this balance when driven by pressures of our modern world?’ The animators of this film, part of the Upjohn Company's ‘Triangle of Health’ series, included Eric Larson, one of Disney's original core artists, whose famous