Medicine is concerned with the most intimate aspects of private life. Yet it is also a focus for diverse forms of public organization and action. In this volume, an international team of scholars use the techniques of medical history to analyse the changing boundaries and constitution of the public sphere from early modernity to the present day.
In a series of detailed historical case studies, contributors examine the role of various public institutions - both formal and informal, voluntary and statutory - in organizing and coordinating collective action on medical matters. In so doing, they challenge the determinism and fatalism of Habermas's overarching and functionalist account of the rise and fall of the public sphere.
Of essential interest to historians and sociologists of medicine, this book will also be of value to historians of modern Britain, historical sociologists, and those engaged in studying the work of Jürgen Habermas.