Medicine, Health and the Public Sphere in Britain, 1600-2000 by Steve Sturdy

By Steve Sturdy

Drugs is anxious with the main intimate points of personal lifestyles. but it's also a spotlight for various types of public association and motion. during this quantity, a world workforce of students use the concepts of scientific historical past to examine the altering barriers and structure of the general public sphere from early modernity to the current day. In a sequence of precise ancient case reviews, individuals learn the position of varied public associations - either formal and casual, voluntary and statutory - in organizing and coordinating collective motion on scientific concerns. In so doing, they problem the determinism and fatalism of Habermas's overarching and functionalist account of the increase and fall of the general public sphere. Of crucial curiosity to historians and sociologists of drugs, this booklet can also be of worth to historians of contemporary Britain, ancient sociologists, and people engaged in learning the paintings of J?rgen Habermas.

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These men regarded themselves as public figures and the Council as a public body, serving the public good. But like so many of the intellectual elite at that time, they also distinguished themselves sharply from ‘the public’, whom they portrayed as an ignorant, irrational and undisciplined mass in need of intelligent leadership in the fight against disease. Nevertheless, the ARC depended on that public not just to make donations but also to organize countless local fund-raising events, particularly after the establishment of the National Health Service (NHS) led to a rapid decline in large financial contributions from wealthy businessmen.

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Habermas is strongly of the view that, if public discourse is to express an autonomous popular will, unconstrained by structures of authority and compulsion, it must be constituted on a purely voluntary basis. 28 The so-called voluntary Page 9 hospitals, in particular, have been singled out for historical attention. On the whole, the results of such research have tended to vindicate Habermas’s analysis of the bourgeois public sphere. Involvement in the organization and management of the new voluntary hospitals was based less on older forms of social identity or status than on the ability to contribute financially to the philanthropic enterprise.

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