In the first half of the twentieth century, reformers attempted to use the knowledge and practices of the laboratory sciences to radically transform medicine. Change was to be effected through medicine's major institutions; hospitals were to be turned into businesses and united to university-based medical schools. American ideas and money were major movers of these reforms. The Rockefeller Foundation supported these changes worldwide. Reform, however, was not always welcomed. In Britain many old hospitals and medical schools stood by their educational and healing traditions. Further, American ideals were often seen as part of a larger transatlantic threat to British ways of life. In Edinburgh, targeted by reformers as an important center for training doctors for the empire, reform was resisted on the grounds that the city had sound methods of education and patient care matured over time. This resistance stemmed from anxiety about a wholesale invasion by American culture that was seen to be destroying Edinburgh's cherished values and traditions. This book examines this culture clash through attempts to introduce the laboratory sciences, particularly biochemistry, into the Edinburgh medical world of the 1920s.
Christopher Lawrence is Professor of the History of Medicine at the Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine, University College London. He is a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh.
Publisher: Boydell & Brewer Ltd
Number of pages: 384
Weight: 666 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 15 mm
A fascinating study of an equally fascinating phenomenon: the way that early twentieth-century clinical medicine grappled with the challenge of laboratory science. SOCIAL HISTORY OF MEDICINE
It is always a pleasure reading the mature work, forcefully presented, of an experienced historian. . . . You don't have to be a historian of medicine to be inspired and embolded by this book. ISIS [Robert E. Kohler]
[Lawrence] offers a rich and detailed study that effectively integrates broad cultural, institutional, and medical trends to highlight the clash of medical cultures in the 1920s. The result is an impressively researched, engaging, and frequently challenging study. AMERICAN HISTORICAL REVIEW
A marvelous demonstration of the value of institutional microhistory. This study of the constructive yet in some ways less than idyllic marriage between the Rockefeller Foundation and the Edinburgh medical establishment sheds fundamental light on the evolution of biomedicine in the twentieth century as well as the relationship between England and the United States. --Charles E. Rosenberg, Ernest Monrad Professor of the Social Sciences, Harvard University
Christopher Lawrence shows how broad cultural trends and the perceived interests of historical actors played out in changing [or failing to change] medical institutions in 1920s Edinburgh. At the same time, he clearly indicates that the daily practice of doctors and scientists -- and thus the knowledge they used and produced -- were based in those doctors' and scientists' understanding of the resources of those institutions. His fine-grained empirical monograph thus demonstrates how institutions serve as connectors between larger social forces and the activities of individuals; it is an exemplary study in the historical sociology of biomedical science. -- Edward T. Morman, Director, Wood Institute for the History of Medicine, the College of Physicians of Philadelphia