صندلی اداری طراحی قالب وردپرس آموزش وردپرس

Representing and re-defining expert knowledge for the layman. Self-help medical manuals in late 19th century America


Abstract


This paper analyses a corpus (over 1 million words) of three self-help medical handbooks published in the US in the latter quarter of the 19th century, R.V. Pierce’s The People’s Common Sense Medical Adviser (1883), M.L. Byrn’s The Mystery of Medicine Explained (1887), and Gunn and Jordan’s Newest Revised Physician (1887). It aims to explore the discursive construction of medical knowledge and of the medical profession in the period, combining discourse analysis and corpus linguistics. The popularity of these manuals has to be seen within the context of medical care at a time when, in spite of the advances made in the course of the 19th century, the status of the medical profession was still unstable. Initially the focus of the study is on the representation of the medical profession. In this respect, the analysis testifies to an approach to traditional medical expertise which is essentially ambivalent, taking its distance from abstract medicine and quackery alike, while at the same time promoting a new approach based on different, more modern principles. The focus then shifts to the episteme of the medical science as represented in the works under investigation. The construction of selected epistemically relevant notions – knowledge, theory/ies, experience, evidence, and observation – is discussed relying on concordance lines in order to retrieve and examine all the contexts where they occur. The results of the analysis indicate a shift in the epistemological approach to knowledge, with theory and suppositions being complemented by experience, evidence and facts, and a representation of knowledge as a tool for empowerment, in line with the increasing democratisation of medicine characterising the period.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i22390359v29p41

Keywords: medical knowledge; self-help medical handbooks; domestic medicine manuals; 19th century America; medical profession; democratisation of medicine

References


Duffy J. 1993, From Humors to Medical Science. A History of American Medicine, University of Illinois Press, Urbana and Chicago.

Fairclough N. 1992, Discourse and Social Change, Polity Press, Cambridge.

Furst L.R. (ed.) 2000, Medical Progress and Social Reality. A Reader in Nineteenth Century Medicine and Literature, State University of New York Press, Albany.

Haller J.S. 1981, American Medicine in Transition 1840-1910, University of Illinois Press, Chicago.

Hoolihan C. 2001, An Annotated Catalogue of the Edward C. Atwater Collection of American Popular Medicine and Health Reform, The University of Rochester Press, Rochester.

Hyand K. 2012, Disciplinary Identities. Individuality and Community in Academic Discourse, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Lawrence C.J. 1975, William Buchan: Medicine Laid Open, in “Medical History” 19, pp. 20-35.

Markell Morantz R. 1977, Nineteenth Century health Reform and Women: A Programme of Self-Help, in Risse G.B., Numbers R.L. and Walzer Leavitt J. (eds), Medicine without Doctors, Science History Publications, New York, pp.73-93.

Manger L.N. 2005, A History of Medicine, Taylor & Francis, Boca Raton.

McClary B.H. 1986, Introducing a Classic: “Gunn’s Domestic Medicine”, in “Tennessee Historical Quarterly” 45 [3], pp. 210-216.

McEnery T. and Hardie A. 2012, Corpus Linguistics: Method, Theory and Practice, Cambridge University Press, New York.

McEnery T., Xiao R. and Tono Y. 2006, Corpus-Based Language Studies. An Advanced Resource Book, Routledge, London.

Moessner L. 2009, The Influence of the Royal Society on 17th-Century Scientific Writing, in “ICAME Journal” 33, pp. 65-87.

Perelman C. and Olbrechts-Tyteca L. 1969, The New Rhetoric: A Treatise on Argumentation (Traité de l'argumentation - la nouvelle rhétorique, 1958 translated by J. Wilkinson and P. Weaver), Notre Dame, University of Notre Dame Press.

Porter R. (ed.) 1992, The Popularization of Medicine 1650-1850, Routledge, London.

Risse G.B. 1977, Introduction, in Risse G.B., Numbers R.L. and Walzer Leavitt J. (eds), Medicine without Doctors, Science History Publications, New York, pp. 1-9.

Risse G.B. 1992, Medicine in the Age of the Enlightenment, in Wear A. (ed.) Medicine in Society: Historical Essays, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 149-195.

Rutkow I. 2010, Seeking the Cure. A History of Medicine in America, Scribner, New York.

Scott M., 2016, WordSmith Tools version 7, Stroud, Lexical Analysis Software.

Slack P. 1979, Mirrors of health and treasures of poor men; the use of vernacular medical literature in Tudor England, in Webster C. (ed.) Health, Medicine and Mortality in the Sixteenth Century, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 237-273.

Smith G. 1992, Prescribing the rules of health: self-help and advice in the late eighteenth century, in Porter R. (ed.) Patients and Practitioners. Lay Perceptions of Medicine in Pre-Industrial Society, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 249-282.

Starr P. 1982, The Social Transformation of American Medicine, Basic Books, New York.

van Rees A. 2007, Dissociation in Argumentative Discussions. A Pragma-Dialectical Perspective, Springer, Doerdrecht.

Worboys M. 2011, Practice and the Science of Medicine in the Nineteenth Century, in “Isis. A Journal of the History of Science Society” 102 [1] (March), pp. 109-115.


Full Text: pdf

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribuzione - Non commerciale - Non opere derivate 3.0 Italia License.