Reluctant patients: health, sickness and the embodiment of plebeian masculinity in nineteenth-century Britain: evidence from working men's autobiographies

Hogarth, Stuart James (2010) Reluctant patients: health, sickness and the embodiment of plebeian masculinity in nineteenth-century Britain: evidence from working men's autobiographies. Doctoral thesis, London Metropolitan University.

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Abstract / Description

This thesis is a contribution to the patient-centred history of medicine. It takes the historical agenda established by Dorothy and Roy Porter in their work on the Georgian middling sort and applies it to working-class men in nineteenth-century Britain. Thus it uses working men's autobiographies to explore conceptions of health, plebeian aetiology, the subjective experience of sickness, lay medicine and the doctor-patient relationship.
The relationship between the poor and the medical establishment forms an underlying theme of an examination of working-class attitudes to public health, and the clinical encounter. As such this study contributes to debates about the power relationships central to the wider history of professionalisation. Rather than assuming a dominant role for the medical establishment this study explores the degree to which resources such as mutual aid within the family, community and workplace and alternative belief systems offered challenges to professional dominance of health matters. Just as the Porters' work was rooted in the burgeoning social history of the consumer world of Georgian Britain, so this study is a contribution to the social history of the British working-class. In this respect it has two main aims: the first is to add something to our understanding of plebeian masculinity and the gendered nature of class formation.
Secondly, it links the history of medicine and the history of masculinity through the history of the body, in particular by problematising what can be termed the metanarrative of the disciplinary project of modernity which charts a revolution in embodied subjectivity, in which an undisciplined premodern body is gradually rendered docile by a variety of disciplinary processes and effects.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information: uk.bl.ethos.536724
Uncontrolled Keywords: history of medicine; history of the body; working-class men; nineteenth-century Britain; autobiographies; doctor-patient relationship; medical establishment; masculinity
Subjects: 300 Social sciences
900 History & geography > 940 History of Europe
Department: School of Computing and Digital Media
Depositing User: Chiara Repetto
Date Deposited: 06 May 2022 10:17
Last Modified: 06 May 2022 10:17
URI: http://repository.londonmet.ac.uk/id/eprint/7574

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