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Medical culture and identity in provincial England, c.1760–1850
Author: Michael Brown

This book talks about late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century English medical culture, a study of what it meant to be a doctor and how this changed over time. It presents a brief overview of the social, economic and cultural landscape of late eighteenth-century York. Medical culture and identity in late eighteenth-century York took shape within a social landscape shaped by the values of gentility, polite sociability and civic belonging. The book examines the role of intellectual liberality, demonstrating how public displays of polite and 'ornamental' learning were central to the performance of medico-gentility. It explores the incipient demise of this culture. Through a close reading of a scandal which enveloped the York Lunatic Asylum, it also explores the ways in which medical identities founded upon gentility and politeness were critically undermined by the political and social factionalism. The book looks at medical involvement in the provincial scientific movement, examining how local medical men positioned themselves relative to the so-called 'march of intellect', the cultural and ideological alignment between science and social reform. It continues this analysis in relation to the cholera epidemic of 1832 and other medico-political activities. The book considers how the professional dominion over healthcare was forged by the dual processes of inclusion and exclusion. It discusses the foundation of the Medical School in 1834 against the trial, in the same year, of a local salesman for James Morison's 'Universal Vegetable Medicine'.

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Michael Brown

activities and epistemological forms in which physicians, surgeons and apothecaries invested can tell us about the cultural values of medicine and the identity of its practitioners. Beginning in the late eighteenth century, it considers the role of liberal learning in the elaboration of a medical identity founded upon the values of gentility and politeness. Taking the story into the early nineteenth century, it then demonstrates how this culture of intellectual liberality gave way to one of increasing vocational specificity in which knowledge came to be represented as a

in Performing medicine
Social progressivism and the transformation of provincial medicine
Michael Brown

role as curator of the Society’s zoological department allowed him to present himself as man of science, an authority on zoology and natural history. What they did not do was 126 Performing medicine present him as a surgeon and anatomist, a dissector of dead human beings. For the time being at least, his collection of human anatomy remained in the ‘private’ space of his house. That James Atkinson’s public identity was determined more by intellectual liberality than by surgical or anatomical knowledge is forcibly evident in his pictorial representation. Figure 2 is

in Performing medicine
Medicine and the world of letters
Michael Brown

relative distance from the specifics of medical study, they also demonstrate how this intellectual liberality shaped the content of medical knowledge itself, fusing the natural and the social, the environmental and the historical in such a way as to embrace both cutting-edge chemical and medical research and the values of civic pride and local identity. Men and manners: the cultural register of wit and wisdom Natural philosophical knowledge was not the only epistemological resource for the elaboration and performance of medico-gentility, however. If chorography

in Performing medicine