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Performing medicine : medical culture and identity in provincial England, c.1760-1850 /
Michael Brown.
imprint
Manchester : Manchester University Press ; New York : Distributed in the United States by Palgrave Macmillan, 2011.
description
viii, 254 p. : ports. ; 24 cm.
ISBN
0719077974 (hardback), 9780719077975 (hardback)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Manchester : Manchester University Press ; New York : Distributed in the United States by Palgrave Macmillan, 2011.
isbn
0719077974 (hardback)
9780719077975 (hardback)
catalogue key
8263511
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Reviews
Review Quotes
" Performing Medicine illuminates English medical culture in the transitional period from the mid-Georgian to the mid-Victorian ages by focusing on the provincial city of York . . . This solidly researched study bridges two very different medical worlds. It helps us understand the transition from an age of eager Enlightenment-era explorers to a more exclusive, self-policing group of self-identified professionals." - Lisa Forman Cody, Claremont McKenna College, American Historical Review "Brown's important book places two rather different, but temporally conjoined, medical cultures firmly in their periods, and, rightly, he uses his epilogue to criticize modern reports on medical education that, to justify their conclusions, lazily draw on anachronistic notions of a medical profession with a single long history." - Christopher Lawrence, University College London, Bulletin of the History of Medicine Review
'Performing Medicine' is a work of sophisticated research which presents a convincing account of the irrevocable changes to the cultures, values and meanings of medicine which occurred between 1760 and 1850
'Performing Medicine' is a work of sophisticated research which presents a convincing account of the irrevocable changes to the cultures, values and meanings of medicine which occurred between 1760 and 1850Stephanie Snow, Reviews in History, 29/03/2012
Performing Medicine tells a surprisingly colourful tale economically and readably. It is a well-written book that illuminates many aspects of the social and cultural history of the greater transformation to which it was related. I recommend it.David Rollison, Metascience
'Performing Medicine tells a surprisingly colourful tale economically and readably. It is a well-written book that illuminates many aspects of the social and cultural history of the greater transformation to which it was related. I recommend it.'David Rollison, Metascience'Performing Medicine is a theoretically sophisticated, carefully researched, and engagingly written account of medical culture and identity in provincial England from circa 1760 to 1850 ...Performing Medicine is an excellent addition to our knowledge of the making of modern medicine.'James Hanley, H-Albion, February 2013
Performing Medicine, an exploration of the transformation of the cultures, values and meanings of medicine across the late 18th and early 19th centuries, constitutes a new and welcome contribution to the historiography of medical life and the creation of a modern medical profession. Through a case study of the social and intellectual activities of medical practitioners in the city of York, the book presents a much broader set of arguments around the crucial shifts in the culture of medicine between the 1760s and the 1850s. York, as Brown points out, has particular advantages for a study of this sort: it formed a geographical midway point between two key medical metropolises - London and Edinburgh; it did not experience the transformations associated with the processes of industrialization; yet it was shaped by many of the specific characteristics of the period such as political factionalism, the urban renaissance movement and ideologies of socio-scientific progressivism. A rich archive of minute books, letters, memoirs and newspapers produces a wealth of material covering medical lives and their individual and collective encounters with fellow citizens and medical practitioners across social and political spheres.The book opens with a brief survey of York''s political, economic and social landscape in the late 18th century which establishes the values attributed to gentility, polite sociability and civic belonging. York''s medical ''faculty'' was relatively small at the time, consisting of around 20 physicians, surgeons and apothecaries and this heightened the value of interpersonal relationships. (Bristol for example had 230 practitioners at the same period). A vignette of the Doctors Club demonstrates the tight connections between medical culture and identity and the broader values of politeness, gentility and sociability. The Club''s male-only members met weekly from 1781 until the turn of the century and activities were focused on dining, drinking and socializing. Only a small proportion of members were medical practitioners; the majority were local merchants who were amongst the elite of York society. The Club''s rules promoted geniality: ''no party disputes are to be suffered in the Club in regard to any election of members to represent this City in Parliament'' (p. 26). On marriage, Club members were bound to treat their fellows to supper and punch. After dinner activities included betting and again the rules determined that winnings should be spent in the Club. Notably, Brown''s analysis of the minute book shows that bets pivoted on claims and assertions of knowledge; one example was the speed at which members could find the word ''mahogany'' in a shilling dictionary. This supports the argument that such fora were crucial spaces in which medical practitioners could cultivate personae as polite and sociable civic gentlemen. Chapter one ends with a discussion of apothecary Oswald Allen''s trajectory from 13-year-old apprentice in 1781 to his establishment in the medical, cultural and social spheres of York. Despite Allen''s inauspicious beginnings and the negative trade associations surrounding the dispensing of medicine, he succeeded in developing networks of patronage which won him the appointment of Apothecary to the York Dispensary and facilitated his marriage to the sister of one of York''s most noted physicians.The book then explores the ways through which medical practitioners fashioned their identities through public displays of knowledges such as botany, natural history, poetry and literature. Quaker and physician William White submitted papers to the Royal Society in 1778 and 1781 which were published in the Philosophical Transactions. The first gave an account of experiments White had undertaken using a eudiometer to measure the quantity of phlogiston in the atmosphere of the city and its rivers and marshes. Hippocrates had drawn attention to the dangers posed to health by ''bad'' air from natural environments many centuries earlier but the new gas chemistry of the 1770s had intensified interest in air quality and it was topic of much social and medical interest. His second paper mapped the numbers of births and deaths in York between 1770 and 1776 according to the season and compared them to similar figures compiled between 1728 and 1753. Improvements in the health of the population, he suggested, were principally due to the civic improvements in York such as paving and new drains as well as inoculation and other medical advances. Brown suggests that White''s coupling of his experimental work with some of the prime issues in York polite society and prominent questions in science and medicine helped formulate a social identity which allowed him entrée into civic circles. As a Quaker, White would not have participated in many of the Anglican-dominated civic activities. Importantly for Brown''s thesis, White''s story illuminates the pluralist nature of medical knowledge of the time.The scandal resulting from public challenges to the conditions and treatments for patients within the York Lunatic Asylum between 1813 and 1815 is the focus for chapter three. The reformers demanded ''public'' scrutiny of the ''private'' space of the institution which they claimed was self-regulated by corrupt medical practitioners and local elites. Through the York press which was becoming more radical and politically polarized, they called for new regulations which would permit visitors to monitor the condition of the patients and regulate the conduct of the staff. Brown shows that previous challenges to medical authority over asylums had failed in the 1780s and argues that the success of the 1813-15 campaign illustrated how significantly moral, political and cultural forces had swung towards a reformist agenda. For medical practitioners, these public and visible controversies in the context of wider social and political agitations across York critically undermined medical identities grown from old values of civic gentility and polite association.The final chapters explore the ways in which a new culture of medicine, hinged on the values of expertise and public service took shape over successive decades. The 1820s in York were a time of profound change with the demise of polite society and political factionalism. Medical practice became increasingly competitive as a consequence of the numbers of practitioners increasing at a time when numbers of private patients were decreasing due to many of York''s wealthy families leaving the city. The formation of the Associated Body of Surgeons and Apothecaries in 1818 was a response to local pressures but also epitomised the shift from medical practitioners'' participation in civil social groups to more vocationally specific associations. The new visions of medical practitioners as experts and public servants devoted to the health and welfare of a new social order are revealed through the intense debates on the practice of body-snatching and the social functions of anatomy. The gradual disaggregation of medical knowledge from other physical sciences is exemplified in the early history of the British Association for the Advancement of Science (BAAS). York was the location for the inaugural meeting of the BAAS in 1831 and numbers of medical practitioners were exceeded only by clergymen. But the relations between medical knowledge and ''universal science'' were disputed: in 1833 anatomy and physiology were separated from sciences such as zoology and botany; by 1844 medicine was no longer included in the BAAS.The cholera epidemic of 1832 devastated many localities, and medical practitioners differed vehemently on its causes and treatments. Nevertheless it was a defining moment in the history of professionalisation as it was the first time that medical practitioners held official roles on the state-organised and legally-constituted Boards of Health. At the same time in various centres, including York, medical practition
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Summaries
Bowker Data Service Summary
This text offers a fresh and distinctive account of the transformation of provincial English medicine from the late 18th to the mid-19th centuries. It demonstrates how the roots of modern medicine can be located in the cultural, political and ideological upheavals of the age of reform.
Bowker Data Service Summary
This text offers a fresh and distinctive account of the transformation of provincial English medicine from the late eighteenth to the mid nineteenth centuries. It demonstrates how the roots of modern medicine can be located in the cultural, political and ideological upheavals of the age of reform.
Main Description
When did medicine become modern? This book takes a fresh look at one of the most important questions in the history of medicine. It explores how the cultures, values and meanings of medicine were transformed across the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries as its practitioners came to submerge their local identities as urbane and learned gentlemen into the ideal of a nationwide and scientifically-based medical profession. Moving beyond traditional accounts of professionalization, it demonstrates how visions of what medicine was and might be were shaped by wider social and political forces, from the eighteenth-century values of civic gentility to the radical and socially progressive ideologies of the age of reform. Focusing on the provincial English city of York, it draws on a rich and wide-ranging archival record, including letters, diaries, newspapers and portraits, to reveal how these changes took place at the level of everyday practice, experience and representation.
Main Description
When did medicine become modern? This book takes a fresh look at one of the most important questions in the history of medicine. It explores how the cultures, values and meanings of medicine were transformed across the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries as its practitioners came to submerge their local identities as urbane and learned gentlemen into the ideal of a nationwide and scientifically-based medical profession.Moving beyond traditional accounts of professionalization, it demonstrates how visions of what medicine was and might be were shaped by wider social and political forces, from the eighteenth-century values of civic gentility to the radical and socially progressive ideologies of the age of reform. Focusing on the provincial English city of York, it draws on a rich and wide-ranging archival record, including letters, diaries, newspapers and portraits, to reveal how these changes took place at the level of everyday practice, experience and representation.
Main Description
When did medicine become modern? This book takes a fresh look at one of the most important questions in the history of medicine. It explores how the cultures, values and meanings of medicine were transformed across the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries as its practitioners came to submerge their local identities as urbane and learned gentlemen into the ideal of a nationwide and scientifically-based medical profession. Moving beyond traditional accounts of professionalization, Performing Medicine demonstrates how visions of what medicine was and might be were shaped by wider social and political forces, from the eighteenth-century values of civic gentility to the radical and socially progressive ideologies of the age of reform. Focusing on the provincial English city of York, it draws on a rich and wide-ranging archival record, including letters, diaries, newspapers and portraits, to reveal how these changes took place at the level of everyday practice, experience and representation.

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