The Historiography of Medicine in the U.K.

Roy Porter


The practice of the history of medicine in Britain is characterized by a healthy pluralism and diversity. Thirty years ago, history of medicine in Britain was generally considered a space of no particular rilevance to history at large; today, pubblic attitudes toward scientific medicine and the medical profession have grown critical, and the histoey of medicine has itself been problematized, commanding widespread scholarly attention. This article deals with some of the historiographical fields thanks to which the discipline has been energized over the last thirty years: the history of health, analyzing the healthiness of populations, the lenght of their lives and the causes of death; the history of the body, which has been considered as a biological and a sociological entity; the history of sexuality and sexual behaviour; the demographic and epidemiologial history, both connected with the environmental history; the history of death and corpses; the history of mental disorders; the historical role of the hospiral in the reformation of popular health care. 


Key words: Historiography of Medicine - Epidemiology - United Kingdom

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