Physicians, Peasants, and Modern Medicine
Imagining Rurality in Romania, 1860-1910
This monograph, a coherent and consistent historical narrative about Romania's modernization, focuses on one section of the country's elites of the late nineteenth century, namely the health professionals, and on the imagery they constructed as they interacted with the peasant and his world. Doctors ventured out of cities and became a familiar sight on dusty country roads in of Moldavia and Wallachia. Beyond a charitable impulse they did so thru patriotism as the rural world became ever more prominent within the national ideology. Furthermore, new health legislation required the district general practitioner (medicul de plasă) to visit the villages in his catchment area twice a month. Based on solid original research, the book describes rural conditions of the time and the efforts aiming to improve peasants' way of life with abundant quotes from doctors' public health reports and memoirs. The book sheds light on a variety of microscale realities of social life in the medical discourse on the peasant and the rural world in the mirror of medical discourse. Themes include general hygiene, clothing, dwellings, nutrition, drinking habits and healing practices of the peasantry, in the eye of medical specialists. Related official measures, laws, regulations, norms about public health are also discussed in the frame of wider modernizing processes.
About the Author
Constantin Bărbulescu is lecturer in modern history, archival studies and ethnology at the Department of History and Philosophy of the Babeş-Bolyai University, in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. In 2011 he obtained another doctorate in anthropology and ethnology from the University of Perugia.
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