Chapter

Quacks – all notorious medical impostors?

Tobias B. Hug

in Impostures in Early Modern England

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print February 2010 | ISBN: 9780719079849
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781702413 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7228/manchester/9780719079849.003.0004
Quacks – all notorious medical impostors?

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This chapter focuses on medical impostors and quacks in early modern England. It explains that quack is the term used to describe someone claiming medical skills or university degrees to gain the status of a licensed physician, and that it could also refer to someone using techniques and forms of knowledge which were disapproved of as superstitious. The chapter describes the performative strategies of so-called quacks that enabled them to become consultants to people of all social strata, and argues that medical imposture displays conflicts which arose over professionalisation and institutionalisation, either between regular and irregular doctors, or among the latter.

Keywords: medical impostors; England; quacks; performative strategies; social strata; doctors; professionalisation; institutionalisation

Chapter.  7707 words. 

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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