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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.

Cancer, modernity, and decline in fin-de-siècle Britain
Agnes Arnold-Forster

national decline and degeneration. 79 For Dunn and Heron the relationship between cancer and civilisation was unlike the conceptualisation of various diseases of poverty such as cholera, rickets, and typhoid. Cancer may have been a pathology of progress, but it was not caused by industrialisation and its well-known pathological corollaries: filth, overcrowding, lack of sunlight, and moral depravity. But rather, and somewhat paradoxically, the disease was an unintended consequence of civilisation and its attendant health

in Progress and pathology
Open Access (free)
Melissa Dickson, Emilie Taylor-Brown and Sally Shuttleworth

presence as an unintended consequence of the public health successes of industrial modernity, such as lower infant mortality, increasing hospitalisation, and sanitary reforms. In these parallel, but conflicting, constructions of cancer as a pathology of progress, the disease itself emerged as a symptom of modern life that nonetheless manifested a national deterioration in health. Another phenomenon discursively connected both to the conditions of modern life and to social degeneration and decline at the fin de siècle was suicide. The rise of the new

in Progress and pathology
Open Access (free)
Health as moral economy in the long nineteenth century
Christopher Hamlin

retard? By this standard the pathologies of progress are at a disadvantage. George Beard's neurasthenia, flagship of the conditions considered here (can we even call them diseases?), is no longer a medical entity, only a curious conceptual relic. Given that we have decided that the persons thus diagnosed had no such disease, must we throw out their whining? Without a way to validate what brings suffering persons to clinical encounters, we risk doing that. One sort of validation comes from subjectivity: we have suffered from analogous conditions

in Progress and pathology
Dietary advice and agency in North America and Britain
Nicos Kefalas

W. B. Cannon, ‘Organization for physiological homeostasis’, Physiological Reviews , 9:3 (July 1929), 400. 11 U. Beck, Risk Society: Towards a New Modernity , trans. M. Ritter (London: Sage, 1992), p. 19. 12 C. E. Rosenberg, ‘Pathologies of progress: the idea of civilization as risk’, Bulletin

in Balancing the self
Open Access (free)
Narratives of balance and moderation at the limits of human performance
Vanessa Heggie

many ‘diseases of civilization’, see C. E. Rosenberg, ‘Pathologies of progress: the idea of civilization as risk’, Bulletin of the History of Medicine , 72 (1998), 714–30. 7 Jackson, The Age of Stress , p. 18. See also the explicit formulation of ‘acclimatization versus tolerance’ in the extensive mid-century bibliography put together for the US Air Force in the context of space flight and aviation research: J. T. Celentano, H. B

in Balancing the self