By D. Armstrong

ISBN-10: 1349428841

ISBN-13: 9781349428847

ISBN-10: 1403907021

ISBN-13: 9781403907028

Scientific texts supply a strong technique of gaining access to modern perceptions of disease and during them assumptions concerning the nature of the physique and identification. through mapping those perceptions, from their nineteenth-century specialise in disease positioned in a organic physique via to their 'discovery' of the psycho-social sufferer of the overdue 20th century, a background of id, either actual and mental, is printed.

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Extra resources for A New History of Identity: A Sociology of Medical Knowledge

Example text

In effect, schools were yet another place for the application of the sanitary rule that required dirt to be kept separate from bodies. At the turn of the twentieth century, however, a new hygienic concern appeared: one child could be a source of danger to another through contagious disease. The school thereby became a place of potentially dangerous contacts and exchange. The school was sited in the midst of the community mixing children from their separate domestic spaces so that disease in one home was quickly transferred to another: There is a mass of evidence showing conclusively that the schools are a principal means of disseminating disease throughout the community.

The old regime had allowed the body, that empty husk of life, to be dumped with general indifference into the earth whereas the new public health closely regulated the progression of the dead from the world of the living to the world of nature. There could be few objects more dangerous to the health of the population than the decomposing corpse and until it had made the transition back to nature, until it had fully departed from the world of corporal space to which it had once belonged, the sanitary authorities and the public had to be ever vigilant: One of the most warmly contested questions in the field of sanitary reform which has attracted public attention during recent years had been the disposal of the dead.

In the late nineteenth century when improvement in infant mortality signified ‘progress in sanitary reform’ (Registrar-General 1887: xci) there was a fear that this represented dangerous interference in the natural order such that many infants were being saved who perhaps ‘should die’ (Registrar-General 1881: xiii). Even in 1907, the high mortality in the first week of life was held to be mainly due to deaths from immaturity and debility among infants that could ‘hardly be regarded as viable’ (Registrar-General 1907).

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A New History of Identity: A Sociology of Medical Knowledge by D. Armstrong


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