Chapter

Medicalizing Mecca

Saurabh Mishra

in Pilgrimage, Politics, and Pestilence

Published in print May 2011 | ISBN: 9780198070603
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199080007 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198070603.003.0004
Medicalizing Mecca

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The study of sanitary regulations around the Haj has shown that, by the late nineteenth century, Mecca became deeply embedded within medical debates. It was discussed all over the world and found a place within medical journals, periodicals, newspapers, international sanitary conferences, and debates within European parliaments. This chapter begins by discussing how the British medical press made Mecca the focal point for discussions on the cholera outbreaks in Arabia. It details European sanitary and medical authorities' call for tighter control of the pilgrimage network within India and how Mecca and the pilgrimage began to be ‘medicalized’ to an increasing degree. It also shows that medical restrictions, such as quarantines, had little impact on pilgrims, with many viewing these as a necessary evil en route to paradise.

Keywords: Mecca; Haj; pilgrimage; cholera outbreaks; medicalization; medical restrictions; sanitary regulations; medical debates

Chapter.  12340 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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