By Vladimir Janković (auth.)
This publication explores the social origins of the Western preoccupation with healthiness and environmental dangers. It appears to be like on the upward push of the dichotomy among the susceptible 'in' and the threatening 'out' via interpreting the pathologies linked to climate, family area, air flow, garments, and trip in Britain on the flip of the nineteenth century.
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Extra info for Confronting the Climate: British Airs and the Making of Environmental Medicine
Subsistence crises, the rising price of grain, epidemics, and snowy winters of scarcity seemed far more deserving of concern. It was insensitive to preach ventilation to the homeless. And yet, Wainewright, Cheyne, and Arbuthnot argued the opposite. In their view, worrying about small things was crucial. Medicine’s objective, they wrote, was unrelated to the extraordinary and the episodic. Acute diseases were beyond control, epidemics spread despite precautions. Famines were deadly but rare. Most of the time, there was little that most people could do to prevent such calamities.
30 At the University of Medicine at Montpellier, Dr. Louis La Caze spoke of “the general external organ,” whose function he defined as transmitting outside influences to the brain and the epigastric system. 32 Furthermore, as Elizabeth Williams has recently explained, this approach allowed physicians: to claim as part of their purview any substance, general environmental condition, or activity that contributed to the maintenance of the life of the organism (all ingesta), formed its milieu (air, water, climate, the Hippocratic “places”), or conditioned its own response (exercise, 26 C O N F R O N T I N G T H E C L I M AT E work, habits).
Leake’s italics] . . 75 With assertions like these, concerns over atmospheric disease outgrew purely medical concerns, and entered a wider social ambit. ” 76 In the medical context, where Cheyne and Arbuthnot made personal responsibility the basis of all attempts to manage weather dependence, Leake’s portrayals exuded a disheartening fatalism. The transience of health was the norm; psychological moods eluding self-control and moral accountability were moot issues. Vulnerability to outside agency was beyond individual sovereignty, and free will, by consequence, was in need of a new authority in diagnosis, prognosis, and therapy.
Confronting the Climate: British Airs and the Making of Environmental Medicine by Vladimir Janković (auth.)