Chapter ID: CBB544298302

Poor bodies and disease (2020)


This chapter discusses the prevailing ideas and responses to the pressing problems that diseased paupers presented to European communities over the long early modern period. It focuses on how medical experts depicted the bodies of the poor within their discussions of contagious disease, and makes the case that continuity offers a more useful framework than change for understanding this issue over the course of the period. The chapter argues that early modern doctors constructed the bodies of the poor as uniquely biohazardous. We have heard the concerns of Venetian authorities about the 'refuse and odor' of the immigrant poor. However, by the last quarter of the sixteenth century he detects a clear shift as plague became a disease 'almost exclusively of the poor'. John Henderson supports this view, while Brian Pullan proclaimed that by 1577 it was 'axiomatic' that plague was primarily a disease of the poor.

Included in

Book David Hitchcock; Julia McClure (2020) The Routledge History of Poverty, c.1450-1800. unapi

Citation URI

Similar Citations

Article Hammond, Mitchell Lewis; (2011)
Medical Examination and Poor Relief in Early Modern Germany (/isis/citation/CBB001210673/) unapi

Book David Hitchcock; Julia McClure; (2020)
The Routledge History of Poverty, c.1450-1800 (/isis/citation/CBB935872202/) unapi

Book Harrison, Mark; (2012)
Contagion: How Commerce Has Spread Disease (/isis/citation/CBB001210281/) unapi

Article Cook, Harold J.; (2011)
Markets and Cultures: Medical Specifics and the Reconfiguration of the Body in Early Modern Europe (/isis/citation/CBB001200553/) unapi

Chapter Turner, David M.; (2013)
Disability Humor and the Meanings of Impairment in Early Modern England (/isis/citation/CBB001201695/) unapi

Article Stolberg, Michael; (2012)
“Abhorreas Pinguedinem”: Fat and Obesity in Early Modern Medicine (c. 1500--1750) (/isis/citation/CBB001221620/) unapi

Thesis Wolford, Kathryn; (2012)
Infective Discourse: Printed Debates Concerning the Spread of Plague in Tudor and Stuart England (/isis/citation/CBB001567364/) unapi

Book Giorgio Giulio Santonocito; (2022)
Storia del diritto alla salute (/isis/citation/CBB510089251/) unapi

Book Francesco Bianchi; Giovanni Silvano; (2020)
Saggi di storia della salute. Medicina, ospedali e cura fra medioevo ed età contemporanea (/isis/citation/CBB840139278/) unapi

Book Nükhet Varlik; (2015)
Plague and Empire in the Early Modern Mediterranean World: The Ottoman Experience, 1347-1600 (/isis/citation/CBB948772983/) unapi

Book David Gentilcore; (2015)
Food and Health in Early Modern Europe: Diet, Medicine and Society, 1450-1800 (/isis/citation/CBB439265156/) unapi

Book Hurren, Elizabeth T.; (2012)
Dying for Victorian Medicine: English Anatomy and Its Trade in the Dead Poor, c. 1834--1929 (/isis/citation/CBB001251022/) unapi

Book Elisa Novi Chavarria; (2020)
Accogliere e curare. Ospedali e culture delle nazioni nella Monarchia ispanica (secc. XVI-XVII) (/isis/citation/CBB491582261/) unapi

Article Victoria Pitts-Taylor; (2019)
Neurobiologically Poor? Brain Phenotypes, Inequality, and Biosocial Determinism (/isis/citation/CBB381754775/) unapi

Article Stephens, Rhiannon; (2012)
Birthing Wealth? Motherhood and Poverty in East-Central Uganda, c.700--1900 (/isis/citation/CBB001200331/) unapi

Book Wray, Matt; (2006)
Not Quite White: White Trash and the Boundaries of Whiteness (/isis/citation/CBB001021028/) unapi

Book Mayhew, Henry; Sabbagh, Karl; (2011)
Voices of Victorian London: In Sickness and in Health (/isis/citation/CBB001250951/) unapi

Chapter Weindling, Paul; (2011)
“Our Racial Friends'”: Disease, Poverty and Social Darwinism, 1860--1940 (/isis/citation/CBB001202031/) unapi

Authors & Contributors
Easton, Patricia
Lewis, Daniel
Wray, Matt
Stephens, Rhiannon
Cook, Harold John
Turner, David M.
Past and Present
Royal Historical Society. Transactions
Social History of Medicine
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences
Medical History
Science, Technology and Human Values
Franco Angeli
Duke University Press
Yale University Press
Hesperus Press
Palgrave Macmillan
Claremont Graduate University
Public health
Medicine and society
Social class
Human body
Great Britain
United States
London (England)
Early modern
19th century
16th century
18th century
17th century

Be the first to comment!

{{ comment.created_by.username }} on {{ comment.created_on | date:'medium' }}

Log in or register to comment