By D. Armstrong
Clinical texts supply a robust technique of gaining access to modern perceptions of disorder and during them assumptions in regards to the nature of the physique and identification. via mapping those perceptions, from their nineteenth-century specialise in affliction positioned in a organic physique via to their 'discovery' of the psycho-social sufferer of the past due 20th century, a background of id, either actual and mental, is published.
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Extra info for A New History of Identity: A Sociology of Medical Knowledge
Inter-personal hygiene It is perhaps ironic that twentieth century society claimed to pay such scrupulous attention to safeguards against laboratory and clinical experimentation on children when the child was so often the principal target of trials of a more fundamental nature. The school might have been established as a place for learning, but it also functioned as a laboratory in which the body of the child could be subjected to analysis, experimentation and transformation. : The school child, easily seen, easily examined, easily described has enabled us to crystallise the conception of personal hygiene and to test the possibilities of remedial measures.
In the early years of the twentieth century, the focus was on the educational and training implications of posture, but later more explicit links with health were made. Taylor placed posture ﬁrst in his list of the ﬁve aspects of physical exercise that related to health (attention to posture, mobility exercises, muscle function, breathing exercises and skin friction – he suggested rubbing the skin with a goat hair glove). He noted that some American universities went so far as to take frontal and lateral sillouettographs to identify ‘postural blemishes’ so that students might be ‘shocked or stimulated’ to take corrective action (Taylor 1934).
Thus, a virtuous circle linking body, mind and exercise was established in the early decades of the twentieth century. The mind could be trained to manage the movement of the body while movement, in its turn, had positive effects on the mind. Exercises could inculcate habits while the discipline of movement could focus the mind on the task in hand, eliminating stray thoughts – perhaps of a sexual nature – and build up ‘character’ (Hussey 1928: 578). There was apparently ‘a very close relationship between intelligence and success in athletics’ (Ruble 1928: 216), and mental problems might be expressed in poor movement coordination just as true character could be read from the sport’s ﬁeld, the gymnasium, the athletics ground and the dance school: For every physical expression there is a mental equivalent.