Infection and citizenship: (not) visiting isolation hospitals in mid-Victorian Britain.

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Abstract

Local authority provision for the sequestration of infectious people mushroomed in Great Britain from the mid-1860s. By the First World War, more than 750 isolation hospitals contained almost 32,000 beds for infectious patients, most of whom were children. Trips to an isolation hospital were problematic because visitors might contract infection there and spread it to the wider community. Various strategies sought to minimise this risk or eliminate it altogether. This chapter argues that the management of isolation hospital visitors was typical of Victorian public health's tendency to regulate people's behaviour. By granting rights to, and conferring responsibilities on, the relatives of patients, visiting practices enshrined notions of citizenship that sought to govern 'through' the family.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)147-173
Number of pages27
JournalClio medica (Amsterdam, Netherlands)
Volume86
StatePublished - 2009

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Isolation Hospitals
Infection
World War I
Public Health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

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abstract = "Local authority provision for the sequestration of infectious people mushroomed in Great Britain from the mid-1860s. By the First World War, more than 750 isolation hospitals contained almost 32,000 beds for infectious patients, most of whom were children. Trips to an isolation hospital were problematic because visitors might contract infection there and spread it to the wider community. Various strategies sought to minimise this risk or eliminate it altogether. This chapter argues that the management of isolation hospital visitors was typical of Victorian public health's tendency to regulate people's behaviour. By granting rights to, and conferring responsibilities on, the relatives of patients, visiting practices enshrined notions of citizenship that sought to govern 'through' the family.",
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