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Vital accounts : quantifying health and population in eighteenth-century England and France /
Andrea A. Rusnock.
imprint
Cambridge ; New York : Cambridge University Press, c2002.
description
xvi, 249 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.
ISBN
0521803748 (hbk.)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Cambridge ; New York : Cambridge University Press, c2002.
isbn
0521803748 (hbk.)
catalogue key
4765489
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. [219]-242) and index.
A Look Inside
Reviews
Review Quotes
"An excellent overview of a vital, though hitherto neglected, dimension of eighteenth-century history." The International History Review
'... authoritative and well-written...'. History
'... authoritative and well-written...'.History
'... authoritative and well-written...’.History
'... contains interesting and suggestive material ...' The Economic History Review
'... contains interesting and suggestive material ...'The Economic History Review
'... contains interesting and suggestive material ...’The Economic History Review
'... interesting and compelling study ... Rusnock's book provides interesting insights to many aspects of demographic analysis in the eighteenth century ... It should be read by anyone with a serious interest in demography's history.' Local Population Studies
"Rusnock's book will be of value to historians of medicine and quantification as well as to those interested in the sociology of knowledge and the history of sceince and its social context more generally. Of particular interest is her comparative focus, which allows the book to escape an oversimplified view that sees scientific innovations such as quantification succeeding largely because they were 'right'. The different trajectory of medical quantification in these two countires--so well described by Rusnock--is a powerful argument in favor of a more complex and multitextured explanation, one that can take into account the important differences in the communities of researchers who first used numbers to measure the health and vitality of populations." - Joshua Cole, University of Michigan
'Rusnock's Vital accounts provides an admirably clear and unruffled narrative ... The book is well illustrated by reproductions of tabular methods. It provides a very welcome and thoughtful introduction to an area of medical knowledge that was livelier and more topical than is now generally appreciated.' Medical History
"the wide range of issues raised by the author, and her ability to contextualize the complex web of interactions among science, institutions and social processes and to refute simplistic and essentialist views on 'the power of numbers', makes this a valuable contribution on the genesis of social statistics that any historian will benefit from reading." - Paul-Andre Rosental
This item was reviewed in:
SciTech Book News, March 2003
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Summaries
Bowker Data Service Summary
Why did Europeans begin to count births and deaths? This book charts the work of the physicians, clergymen and government officials who crafted the sciences of political and medical arithmetic in England and France during the 18th century, before statistics and regular government censuses.
Description for Bookstore
Examines the pre-history of statistics in eighteenth-century England and France, before state governments began to collect statistical data on a regular basis. The author highlights the history of numerical tables, as new scientific instruments, and explains how they were used to evaluate smallpox inoculations, the health and size of populations.
Description for Bookstore
This book examines the pre-history of statistics in eighteenth-century England and France, before state governments and other i nstitutions began to collect statistical data on a regular basis. Eighteenth-century political and medical arithmeticians developed a variety of useful techniques to measure health and population. This book highlights the history of numerical tables, as new scientific instruments, and explains how they were used to evaluate smallpox inoculations, the health and size of populations.
Description for Bookstore
Through a compelling comparative analysis, Vital Accounts charts the work of the physicians, clergymen and government officials who crafted the sciences of political and medical arithmetic in England and France during the long eighteenth century, before the emergence of statistics and regular government censuses.
Main Description
Rusnock shows how vital accounts became the measure of public health and welfare.
Main Description
This study examines the pre-history of statistics in eighteenth-century England and France, before state governments and other institutions began to collect statistical data on a regular basis. Eighteenth-century political and medical arithmeticians developed a variety of useful techniques to measure health and population. This book highlights the history of numerical tables, as new scientific instruments, and explains how they were used to evaluate smallpox inoculations, and the health and size of populations.
Main Description
Why did Europeans begin to count births and deaths? How did they collect the numbers and what did they do with them? Through a compelling comparative analysis, Vital Accounts charts the work of the physicians, clergymen, and government officials who crafted the sciences of political and medical arithmetic in England and France during the eighteenth century, before the emergence of statistics and regular government censuses. Andrea A. Rusnock presents a social history of quantification that highlights the significant development of numerical tables, new scientific instruments designed to evaluate smallpox inoculation, to link weather and disease, to compare infant and maternal mortality rates, to identify changes in disease patterns, and to challenge prevailing views about the decline of European population. By focusing on the most important eighteenth-century controversies over health and population, Rusnock shows how vital accounts - the numbers of dead and born - became the measure of public health and welfare.
Main Description
Why did Europeans begin to count births and deaths? How did they collect the numbers and what did they do with them? Through a compelling comparative analysis, Vital Accounts charts the work of the physicians, clergymen and government officials who crafted the sciences of political and medical arithmetic in England and France during the long eighteenth-century, before the emergence of statistics and regular government censuses. Andrea A. Rusnock presents a social history of quantification that highlights the development of numerical tables, influential and enduring scientific instruments designed to evaluate smallpox inoculation, to link weather and disease to compare infant and maternal mortality rates, to identify changes in disease patterns and to challenge prevailing views about the decline of European population. By focusing on the most important eighteenth century controversies over health and population, Rusnock shows how vital accounts - the numbers of births and deaths - became the measure of public health and welfare.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrationsp. xi
Acknowledgmentsp. xv
Introductionp. 1
Method of Tablesp. 5
Method of Comparisonp. 7
Method of Controversyp. 10
A New Science: Political Arithmeticp. 15
Crafting a New Method: Numerical Tablesp. 16
Natural Observationsp. 24
Political Observationsp. 33
Smallpox Inoculation and Medical Arithmetic
A Measure of Safety: English Debates over Inoculation in the 1720sp. 43
Arbuthnot's Vindicationp. 46
Jurin's Accountsp. 49
Building a Correspondence Networkp. 55
Tallying the Typicalp. 59
Challenging the Atypicalp. 63
The Appeal of Calculationp. 66
The Limits of Calculation: French Debates over Inoculation in the 1760sp. 71
The Paris Faculte de Medecinep. 72
Inoculation a la Modep. 75
La Condamine's Lotteryp. 77
Bernoulli and d'Alembertp. 81
Physicians Respondp. 86
A Plea for Registersp. 88
Charitable Calculations: English Debates over the Inoculation of the Urban Poor, 1750-1800p. 92
The London Smallpox Hospitalp. 94
Dispensaries and Home Inoculations in Londonp. 95
Inoculation outside Londonp. 101
Medical Arithmetic and Environmental Medicine
Medical Meteorology: Accounting for the Weather and Diseasep. 109
Numerical Natural Histories of the Weatherp. 110
Englandp. 111
Francep. 117
Linking Disease and Weatherp. 119
Englandp. 122
Francep. 126
Observations Reducedp. 128
Interrogating Death: Disease, Mortality, and Environmentp. 137
To Improve the Classification of Deathp. 139
The London Bills of Mortality Analyzedp. 143
Mortality by Age and Placep. 157
Variations in Mortality between the Sexesp. 171
Political Arithmetic
Count, Measure, Compare: The Depopulation Debatesp. 179
Counting the People: Censuses and Vital Registrationp. 182
Britainp. 183
Francep. 188
Calculating the Population: The Universal Multiplierp. 192
Britainp. 193
Francep. 201
The Role of Partial Enumerationsp. 206
Conclusionp. 211
Bibliographyp. 219
Indexp. 243
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

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