In the Name of the Child: Health and Welfare, 1880-1940
Roger Cooter, Society for the Social History of Medicine, British Paediatric Association
Routledge, 1992 - Psychology - 292 pages
Recent revelations of child abuse in Britain have highlighted the need for understanding the historical background to current attitudes towards child health and welfare. In the Name of the Child explores a variety of professional, social, political and cultural constructions of the child in the crucial decades around the First World War when modern notions of 'the child' were elaborated and widely institutionalized.
In essays specially written for the book, the contributors describe how medical and welfare initiatives in the name of the child were shaped and how changes in medical and welfare provision were closely allied to political and ideological interests. Chapters concentrate on the medical invasion of schools, the use of children for medical experiments in American orphanages, how medical intervention gave new priorities in health care, and the construction of child abuse before 1914. Taken as a whole, the book shows clearly how wider moral, political, class and gender interests were imposed on children.
The essays bridge the gap between traditional histories of medicine and welfare, and the social, intellectual and cultural history of childhood. They lay the foundation for understanding contemporary conflicts and concerns about the child, and will appeal not only to those interested in childhood studies and in the history of medicine, psychology, social policy and welfare, but also to students of the culture of modernization between the 1880s and the 1940s.
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