Framing Disease: Studies in Cultural History

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Rutgers University Press, 1992 - Medical - 326 pages
2 Reviews

"An exceedingly fine collection of essays--perhaps the best collection of medical history essays I've seen for many years."--Roy Porter

"In some ways disease does not exist until we have agreed that it does, by perceiving, naming, and responding to it, " writes Charles E. Rosenberg in his introduction to this stimulating set of essays. Disease is both a biological event and a social phenomenon. Patient, doctor, family, and social institutions--including employers, government, and insurance companies--all find ways to frame the biological event in terms that make sense to them and serve their own ends.

Many diseases discussed here--endstage renal disease, rheumatic fever, parasitic infectious diseases, coronary thrombosis--came to be defined, redefined, and renamed over the course of several centuries. As these essays show, the concept of disease has also been used to frame culturally resonant behaviors: suicide, homosexuality, anorexia nervosa, chronic fatigue syndrome. Disease is also framed by public policy, as the cases of industrial disability and of forensic psychiatry demonstrate. Medical institutions, as managers of people with disease, come to have vested interests in diagnoses, as the histories of facilities to treat tuberculosis or epilepsy reveal. Ultimately, the existence and conquest of disease serves to frame a society's sense of its own "healthiness" and to give direction to social reforms.

The contributors include Steven J. Peitzman, Peter C. English, John Farley, Christopher Lawrence, Michael MacDonald, Bert Hansen, Joan Jacobs Brumberg, Robert A. Aronowitz, Gerald Markowitz, David Rosner, Janet A. Tighe, Barbara Bates, Ellen Dwyer, John M. Eyler, and Elizabeth Fee. For any student of disease and society, this book is essential, compelling reading.

 

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the effects of medicine on culture? should be thought provoking.

Contents

From B rights Disease to EndStage Renal Disease
3
Searching
10
Emergence of Rheumatic Fever in the Nineteenth
20
Parasites and the Germ Theory of Disease
33
Coronary Thrombosis and Cardiologists
50
PART 2
83
A History of Chronic
155
THE PUBLIC ARENA
183
PART 4
227
Stories of Epilepsy 18801930
248
DISEASE AS SOCIAL DIAGNOSIS
273
His Interpretations of the History of Disease
297
List of Contributors
319
Copyright

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About the author (1992)

Charles E. Rosenberg is the Ernest E. Monrad Professor in the Social Sciences and a professor of the history of science at Harvard University. He is the author of The Cholera Years: The United States in 1832, 1849, and 1866; The Care of Strangers: The Rise of America's Hospital System; and No Other Gods: On Science and American Social Thought.

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