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När kroppen slöt sig och blev fast: Varför åderlåtning, miasmateori och klimatmedicin övergavs vid 1800-talets mitt
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Department of History of Science and Ideas.
2018 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

For 2500 years, bloodletting, purging, climate medicine and the miasmatic theory were the fundaments of Western medicine. But then, over the course of just a few decades during the middle of the nineteenth century, they disappeared. Silently, without having been disproven or even disputed, before the breakthrough of bacteriology.

In this study I investigate the reasons behind this abandonment, which has been described as ”a precondition for scientific medicine”, using 8800 yearly reports written by 2500 Swedish provincial doctors between 1820 and 1900. These were state funded doctors, based in mostly rural districts throughout all of Sweden. Their tasks included overseeing midwives and vaccinators, inspecting pharmacies, managing epidemics, establishing their own practice and reporting back to the National Board of Health. Their digitised reports constitute a unique source of materials giving direct insight into their conceptions of health and disease.

The reports provide evidence that the collapse of ”traditional” medicine should be understood as the result of a decisive break between two different ways of understanding the interaction between body and environment: ”flow-managing” and ”boundary-protecting” medicine. Until the 1860s, the provincial doctors aimed to manage the volume and pace of flows of body fluids. However, between 1865 and 1900, they instead focused on upholding the boundaries between the body and its environment. Doctors stopped understanding bodies as open, fluid, and constantly interacting with the world around them, and rather began perceiving them as closed off, autonomous from and independent of their environment. This shift in what it meant to practice medicine explains the covert but momentous demise of ”traditional” theories and therapies.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2018. , p. 254
Series
Uppsala Studies in History of Ideas, ISSN 1653-5197 ; 49
Keywords [en]
History of medicine, physician, doctor, bloodletting, the miasmatic theory, climate medicine, purging, health, disease
Keywords [sv]
1800-talet, medicin, medicinhistoria, läkare, provinsialläkare, sjukdom, hälsa, sjukdomsuppfattningar, klimatmedicin, åderlåtning, miasmateori, kontagion, kroppens historia, kroppsuppfattningar
National Category
History
Research subject
History of Sciences and Ideas
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-347628ISBN: 978-91-513-0309-3 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-347628DiVA, id: diva2:1195613
Public defence
2018-05-25, Sal X, Biskopsgatan 3, Uppsala, 10:15 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2018-05-04 Created: 2018-04-06 Last updated: 2018-05-24Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

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Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
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  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
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  • asciidoc
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