Medicine and Modernity

Roger Cooter

in The Oxford Handbook of the History of Medicine

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780199546497
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in History

Medicine and Modernity

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  • Contemporary History (Post 1945)



This article delineates the integral place of medicine and corporeal thought in the structuring and sustaining of ‘the modernist project’. It is predicated on an understanding of the transcendence of modernity in ‘postmodernity’. It also discusses briefly the place of modernism in medicine. First, though, a brief survey of ‘the modern’ in medicine is in order. The concept of modernity has been a major source of acrimony, anxiety, and debate since at least the sixteenth century. Its pursuit in the history and historiography of medicine demands much more than simply tracing innovations, and far more than merely challenging vague assignments of the label to scientific institutions and authorities formalizing the status of health and disease.

Keywords: medicine; modernity; postmodern turn; historiography; health

Article.  8529 words. 

Subjects: History ; Contemporary History (Post 1945)

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