Tag Archives: Social History of Medicine

The 2016 SSHM Roy Porter Student Essay Competition

The British Society for the Social History of Medicine is now welcoming submissions from students for their annual Roy Porter Prize essay competition. The deadline is February 1st 2017, and the decision will be announced in July.

Essays must be between 5-9k words, and unpublished. The winner will be awarded £500.00. The winning entry may also be published in the society’s journal, Social History of Medicine. Click here for SSHM’s prizes page, where you can download competition entry instructions.

 

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Advance Access from Social History of Medicine on Psychiatry and Social Engineering in Finland, 1945–1968

A new article has been published online first by the journal of the Social History of Medicine that will be of interest to our readership. Katariina Parhi and Petteri Pietikainen write on “Socialising the Anti-Social: Psychopathy, Psychiatry and Social Engineering in Finland, 1945–1968.” The abstract reads as follows:

This article argues that in Finland during the two decades after the Second World War, the diagnosis of psychopathy represented a failed attempt to adjust ‘difficult’ individuals to the social order. Discussing the social and medical character of the diagnosis, we examine psychopathy using the analytic and historical framework of social engineering in post-war Finland. We utilise patient records, official documents and psychiatric publications and analyse the diagnostic uses of psychopathy and its associations with social maladjustment. We also address the question of how mental health care in the less-developed northern part of Finland grappled with behavioural deviance, and especially with behaviour deemed ‘anti-social’. Contextualising psychopathy as a marker of individual disorganisation within the development of social organisation, this article contributes to historical scholarship that maps mental disorders onto the historical development of the nation.

 

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Social History of Medicine “Focus on Managing Mental Disorder”

The may 2016 issue of Social History of Medicine includes a section of book reviews focusing on the historiography of mental disorders. The books reviewed in this section are as follows:

  • Leonard Smith, Insanity, Race and Colonialism: Managing Mental Disorder in the Post-Emancipation British Caribbean 1838–1914  (Reviewer Pedro L. V. Welch)
  • Louise Hide, Gender and Class in English Asylums, 1890–1914 (Reviewer Catharine Colborne)
  • Howard Chiang (ed.), Psychiatry and Chinese History (Studies for the Society for the Social History of Medicine) (Reviewer Lijing Jiang)
  •  Laure Murat, The Man Who Thought He Was Napoleon: Toward a Political History of Madness (Reviewer Aude Fauvel)
  • Claudia Malacrida, A Special Hell: Institutional Life in Alberta’s Eugenic Years (Reviewer Katrina N. Jirik)

Find the full texts through the journal table of contents here.

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Historiography in the Social History of Medicine: Records at the NIH and the UK Web Archive

3.coverThe latest issue of Social History of Medicine includes two pieces related to historiographic research methods that may be of interest to our readership.

In light of (and as case against) the downsizing of the Office of History at the American National Institutes of Health and the prevailing uncertainty about its future capacity to be of service to historians, David Cantor has taken it upon himself to provide a guide to the available records, those beyond the collections held at the National Library of Medicine, the National Archives and in private possession, “those squirreled away in the NIH itself, in filing cabinets, on servers and computer systems, and within the records management system, many of which are uncatalogued and can be tricky to find.”

It also outlines how to best approach the bureaucratic system for viewing available records. Upon the dismantling of their historical office, historians will be left to navigate the complexities and social politics of finding and accessing materials at the Institutes without guidance, and as such the insights provided by this short work will likely prove invaluable.

The abstract can be found here: Finding Historical Records at the National Institutes of Health.

Martin Gorsky, out of the Centre for History in Public Health (Faculty of Public Health and Policy), London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, provides another methodological guide. His work employs a case study (on the recent decentralization of public health services in Britain) to introduce the search engine interface of the UK Web Archive (colloquially called the Dark Domain Archive) and discuss the opportunities it provides, the challenges posed by its current functionality, and its relation to the future of historiography at large. The analyses conducted were both quantitative and qualitative, and analytic processes include thematic analysis, discourse analysis, and analyses of the selected sites as visual artifacts.

The full article can be found open access here: Into the Dark Domain: The UK Web Archive as a Source for the Contemporary History of Public Health.

 

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Social History of Medicine May Issue

Whittingham Asylum

The May 2015 issue of Social History of Medicine is now online. The issue includes a number of items that may be of interest to AHP readers, including an article on Irish patients in the Victorian Lancashire asylum system and one on the importance of black celebrity activism in making the mental health of black youth a civil rights issue. The issue also includes a special section, “Focus on Learning from Pain,” where a number of recent volumes on the history of pain are reviewed. Full titles, authors, and abstracts follow below.

“‘A Burden on the County’: Madness, Institutions of Confinement and the Irish Patient in Victorian Lancashire,” by Catherine Cox and Hilary Marland. The abstract reads, Continue reading Social History of Medicine May Issue

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Social History of Medicine: Madness & Sexuality, Child Psychiatry, & More

The May 2014 issue of Social History of Medicine includes several articles that may be of interest to AHP readers. Titles, authors, and abstracts follow below.

“Madness and Sexual Psychopathies as the Magnifying Glass of the Normal: Italian Psychiatry and Sexuality c.1880–1910,” by Chiara Beccalossi. The abstract reads,

By focusing on Italian psychiatric debates about sexual inversion this article shows how Italian psychiatrists came to argue that there was no clear-cut boundary between normal sexual behaviour and sexual perversion, and traces the debates and fields of knowledge that contributed to the development of such a position. First, it shows how French psychiatry shaped Italian views on sexual psychopathies. Second, it demonstrates that in Italy, psychiatric research on so-called sexual psychopathies was from its inception part of a wider debate about the blurred boundary between sanity and insanity. Third, it reveals how sexologists embraced various theories of evolution, which implied that sexual perversions were latent in any normal individual. The article argues that despite the fact that in Italy same-sex desires were pathologised in the last three decades of the nineteenth century, historical accounts that emphasise such a pathologisation obscure psychiatric positions that endeavoured to normalise same-sex desires.

“The Rise of Child Psychiatry in Portugal: An Intimate Social and Political History, 1915–1959,” by Angela Marques Filipe. The abstract reads,

In recent decades, the study of the history of medicine and psychiatry has grown and interest has been developed in the particular social and institutional configuration of fields such as child psychiatry. That historical literature has, however, accounted mainly for the Anglo-American world and a research gap persists with regard to other national contexts. Drawing on a historiography of medical archives in Portugal, this paper aims to analyse the social, institutional and political conditions behind the rise of child psychiatry. Such an analysis will inquire into the international, national and local factors that played a part in that historical process and suggests a periodisation beginning in 1915, when the Medical-Pedagogic Institute was first created, and concluding in 1959, when ‘child neuropsychiatry’ was finally recognised by the Portuguese Medical Board.

“Heroes and Hysterics: ‘Partisan Hysteria’ and Communist State-building in Yugoslavia after 1945,” by Ana Anti?. The abstract reads,

This article investigates a novel type of war neurosis defined by Yugoslav psychiatrists in the aftermath of the Second World War. This uniquely Yugoslav war trauma—‘partisan hysteria’—was diagnosed exclusively in Communist resistance soldiers—partisans—and did not manifest itself in the form of battle exhaustion or anxiety, as was the case in other armies. Rather, it demonstrated a heightened willingness to fight, and consisted of simulations of wartime battles. Yugoslav psychiatrists argued that ‘partisan hysteria’ most frequently affected uneducated and immature partisans, who were given important political responsibilities but experienced severe trauma due to their own inadequacy. I argue that ‘partisan hysteria’ served as an opportunity for upper-middle-class psychiatric professionals to criticise the increasing upward social mobility after the socialist revolution of 1945. Surprisingly, this touched upon an issue that had already provoked deep disquiet within the Communist Party, and resonated with the Party’s own concerns regarding social mobility.

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HoP in the November 2013 issue of Social History of Medicine

The November 2013 issue of Social History of Medicine includes two articles that may be of interest to AHP readers. In the first of these articles, Rob Ellis discusses the role of politics in the management of the insane at London County Council’s asylums near Epsom. In a further article, Vicky Long examines the treatment of those with chronic mental disorders in Britain during the post-war period. Full titles, authors, and abstracts follow below.

“‘A constant irritation to the townspeople’? Local, Regional and National Politics and London’s County Asylums at Epsom,” by Rob Ellis. The abstract reads,

In 1908, The Times described London County Council’s asylums near Epsom as ‘a constant irritation to the townspeople’. The article was specifically concerned with the patient walking parties that made their way into the town. This, and references to the site of the asylum, focused on the sense of imposition as local residents were forced to contend with London’s insane population. As the ‘townspeople’ negotiated the impact of the asylums, the Urban District Council and Lord Rosebery, a former Prime Minister, were to play central roles. The aim of this article is to uncover the motivations of the Council and Rosebery and the roles that first the asylums and then their patients played in the development of their views. Ultimately, it will be argued that although the Council and Rosebery operated outside the management structure of London Asylums, they were able to instigate changes to the ways in which patients were managed.

“Rethinking Post-war Mental Health Care: Industrial Therapy and the Chronic Mental Patient in Britain,” by Vicky Long. The abstract reads, Continue reading HoP in the November 2013 issue of Social History of Medicine

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