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Purity and Pollution
 
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Purity and Pollution
Gender, Embodiment and Victorian Medicine
 
 
Palgrave Macmillan
 
 
 
 
 
 
01 Mar 1998
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£105.00
|Hardback Print on Demand
  
9780333682487
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DescriptionContentsAuthors

Like medical knowledge and practice itself, most medical histories are fascinated with the bodies of patients. Bashford examines practitioners of medicine, as well as patients, as embodied and sexed subjects. She brings together recent cultural and feminist theories on the body, nineteenth-century medical history, and the history of gender and Victorian feminism. Purity and Pollution is a cultural history which investigates the ways in which many different practitioners - male and female doctors, nurses, midwives, accoucheurs - were implicated in a discourse and a material practice inescapably about the pure and the polluted. What were the cultural meanings embodied by these practitioners? How did doctors think about themselves: as fleshly and tactile, as carrying a contagion, or as being immune to contagion? How did nurses conceptualize and enact that cleanliness so insistently impressed upon their very bodies and morals, as well as their wards and homes? In what ways did the medical gaze turn inwards?


Description

Like medical knowledge and practice itself, most medical histories are fascinated with the bodies of patients. Bashford examines practitioners of medicine, as well as patients, as embodied and sexed subjects. She brings together recent cultural and feminist theories on the body, nineteenth-century medical history, and the history of gender and Victorian feminism. Purity and Pollution is a cultural history which investigates the ways in which many different practitioners - male and female doctors, nurses, midwives, accoucheurs - were implicated in a discourse and a material practice inescapably about the pure and the polluted. What were the cultural meanings embodied by these practitioners? How did doctors think about themselves: as fleshly and tactile, as carrying a contagion, or as being immune to contagion? How did nurses conceptualize and enact that cleanliness so insistently impressed upon their very bodies and morals, as well as their wards and homes? In what ways did the medical gaze turn inwards?


Contents

List of Abbreviations
List of Figures
Introduction
Sanitising Spaces: The Body and the Domestic in Public Health
Female Bodies at Work: Narratives of the 'Old' Nurse and the 'New' Nurse
'Disciplines of the Flesh': Sexuality, Religion and the Modern Nurse
Pathologising the Practitioner: Puerperal Fever in the 1860s
Feminising Medicine: The Gendered Politics of Health
Dissecting the Feminine: Women Doctors and Dead Bodies in the Late Nineteenth Century
Sterile Bodies: Germs and the Gendered Practitioner
Notes
Bibliography
Index


Authors

ALISON BASHFORD is a medical historian who lectures in Gender Studies at the University of Sydney, Australia. She is currently writing a second book, The Biopolitics of a Nation.