Article ID: CBB548968849

Monarchism with a Human Face: Balkan Queens and the Social Politics of Nursing in the Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries (2022)


How were monarchy, gender, and nationalism entwined? Through contextualized comparisons of selected case studies (two generations of royal women in four countries: Bulgaria, Greece, Romania, and Serbia/Yugoslavia), this article explores, in gendered terms, the instrumentalization of nursing as an evolving relationship between state building, warfare, welfare, and voluntary organizations. It argues that certain queens’ interventions in nursing successfully contributed to the “naturalization” of the ruling foreign dynasties in the Balkans and to the militarization of charity. Through such “soft power” they mobilized nursing in different ways to carve out an autonomous space and visibility in wartime as queen-nurses and in peacetime as queen-benefactors. In both cases, royal women personified the “curing” and “caring” dimensions of the modernizing state. Queens’ honorific leadership clearly linked the monarchy and the philanthropic sector but also discreetly expanded the power of the nationalizing state. Queens skillfully promoted a gendered culture of sacrifice, by representing women as caring “by nature,” and thus reinforced neo-traditionalist patriarchal regimes and weakened women’s effectiveness in pursuing their political and economic demands.

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Authors & Contributors
Lilley, James
Kuiken, Kir
Schwoch, Rebecca
Alter, Joseph S.
Sufian, Sandra M
Espinosa, Mariola
Asian Medicine: Tradition and Modernity
Canadian Bulletin of Medical History/Bulletin Canadienne d'Histoire de la Medecine
Comparative Studies in Society and History
Central European History
Journal of Burma Studies
Medical History
University of Chicago Press
Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht
Hambledon Continuum
Edinburgh University Press
Franz Steiner Verlag
Medicine and politics
Medicine and the military; medicine in war
Science and politics
Hadrich, Julius
Haedenkamp, Karl
Bignon, Alfredo
Jenner, Edward
Austen, Jane
Wollstonecraft, Mary
Time Periods
20th century, early
19th century
18th century
20th century
United States
Great Britain
Middle and Near East
League of Nations
League of Nations Health Organisation

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