Introduction
in Medical societies and scientific culture in nineteenth-century Belgium
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The introduction highlights rarely studied aspects of medical sociability. When physicians gathered in societies to present, discuss, evaluate, publish and celebrate their studies, they followed specific rules and manners. By paying attention to the performative aspect of sociability, it becomes possible to uncover these manners and lay bare their origins in nineteenth-century civil society. Belgium is presented as a case study to this end. The presence of a liberally oriented bourgeoisie in the country’s major cities, the hesitant development of state infrastructure and the slow modernization of universities offered much room for civil engagement in the medical sciences.

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