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.
This book tells the story of how modern environmentalism emerged in postwar Sweden. It shows that the ‘environmental turn’ in Sweden occurred as early as the autumn of 1967 and that natural scientists led the way. The most influential was the chemist Hans Palmstierna, who was both an active Social Democrat and a regular contributor to the nation’s leading morning paper. Thus, he had a unique platform from which to exert influence. Drawing on his rich and previously untapped personal archive, the book explores how popular environmental engagement developed in Sweden. The book also highlights the journalist Barbro Soller, who in the mid-1960s became Sweden’s – and indeed one of the world’s – first environmental journalists. Moreover, it demonstrates how the pioneering historian Birgitta Odén, in collaboration with the Swedish National Defence Research Institute, sought to launch an interdisciplinary research programme based in the humanities and the social sciences as early as 1967–1968. An important conclusion of the book is that environmentalism emerged in Swedish society before there was an actual environmental movement. However, from 1969 onwards new social movements began to alter the dynamics. Hence, by the time the United Nations arranged the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment in June 1972, environmental knowledge had become a source of conflict between rival interests. The environmental turn in postwar Sweden is the first full-length study to emerge from the Lund Centre for the History of Knowledge (LUCK), and demonstrates how its specific take on the history of knowledge enhances historical scholarship.
was when the understanding about a threatened world and humanity was
carved out among small – but influential and well-resourced – elite circles at
the global level. 6 For most people, this
development was out of sight and irrelevant. It would take almost two decades before the
looming environmental crisis became part of the lives of the vast majority. For this reason I
have chosen to begin my investigation in the autumn of 1967.
The history and circulationofknowledge
My study of the breakthrough of environmental
participate in the international project of scientific advance, something that a study of strictly local problems would not have done. The general nature of fundamental research in Trinidad – the fact that it investigated basic underlying laws and processes that operated in all locations – was crucial in bestowing this greater prestige. The Colonial Office celebrated the ability of Trinidad’s new laboratories to allow the island to participate in the global circulationofknowledge as evidence of Britain’s sincerity of purpose in developing and modernising its colonies
Medicine has become increasingly professionalised and institutionalised in the modern era. Within this narrative of medicalisation, popularisation has been interpreted as a process directed by the traditional protagonists of medical history: physicians and institutions. Although historians have argued that medical knowledge was ultimately democratised throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, they have mostly portrayed the increasingly large numbers of users of medicine as passive consumers of knowledge that was nominally created by professionals. Over the past two decades, however, historians have paid more attention to the circulation of knowledge, arguing that knowledge is constructed by mutual interactions between the scientific and the public domain. In a similar vein, historians have shown that the sharp antagonism between ‘official’ and ‘alternative’ medical beliefs was not a historical reality, but a cultural construct. This chapter shows the implications of these new theoretical approaches for the Belgian context – in which ‘popular’ and ‘alternative’ views of medicine have not yet been subject to much historical scrutiny. By focusing on visual media through which medical knowledge was communicated and circulated, concrete models displayed in health exhibitions and public health films, this chapter takes a first step to decentralise the history of ‘popularisation’. By drawing attention to the ways in which medicine circulated, we give lay audiences agency in the historical narrative: they transform from passive recipients into active actors and consumers, who have the agency to interpret, choose from and respond to different views of the body, sickness and health.
leads on to my sixth point, which concerns the issue of power over the
social circulationofknowledge. If many voices were now being raised and the substance of
knowledge was becoming more and more disputed, what was it that enabled some actors to have
an impact while others did not? Which knowledge arenas and social forces were most important
to the circulationofknowledge? Here I would like to single out Dagens Nyheter as a
driving factor in the Swedish environmental debate. This study has repeatedly shown how the
shards of hope for humanity in a world that has become a trap for so
many. Seen from this perspective, this book is a testament to the
vitality and maturity of both the field of critical security studies and
the disciplines within which this intellectual endeavour is embedded. 3 This volume is, hopefully, a
first step on the way to a series of exchanges and a greater circulationofknowledge on security, immobility, and mobility
Palmstierna and Iveroth illustrates how fundamentally
the dynamics of the Swedish environmental debate had changed within the
space of a few years. In the late summer of 1971, environmental issues were politicized
– something they had not been during the breakthrough in the autumn of 1967. At that
time, Palmstierna had referred to the need for information and enlightenment rather than
speaking of a class struggle. But what were the consequences of this altered climate of
debate? How was the circulationofknowledge and expertise
CirculationofKnowledge: Explorations in the History of Knowledge (Lund: Nordic
Academic Press, 2018).
Well before ‘history of knowledge’ became a common
phrase, Lutz Raphael described the often entangled relations between societal practices and
social scientific knowledge in terms of a ‘scientification of the social’. See
Lutz Raphael, ‘Die Verwissenschaftlichung des Sozialen als methodologische und
konzeptuelle Herausforderung für eine Sozialgeschichte des 20. Jahrhunderts
subsequent years. The short film, shot early in 1971 and with a voiceover by anthropologist Annabella Rossi, generated a polemic with the local clergy for its reading of the pilgrimage. Talking over the images and the post-synced music, Rossi’s text describes the practices of the pilgrims as an effect of the misery of their living conditions. They are described as marginals cut off from modernity, with its circulationofknowledge, goods and services, excluded by logics of class exploitation. The voiceover builds up a sense of distance, explicitly opposing ‘us’, bourgeoise