Bodily Matters: The Anti-Vaccination Movement in England, 1853–1907 (Radical Perspectives)

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Bodily Matters: The Anti-Vaccination Movement in England, by Nadja Durbach

Vampires, Vivisectors, and the Victorian Body Doi:. Find a copy online Links to this item ebrary Table of contents Table of contents dawsonera. Show all links.

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Allow this favorite library to be seen by others Keep this favorite library private. Find a copy in the library Finding libraries that hold this item Reviews Editorial reviews. Publisher Synopsis "All too often the large-scale resistance to compulsory vaccination in England has been treated as a quaint case study in 'anti-modern' or 'irrational' opposition to scientific progress. User-contributed reviews Add a review and share your thoughts with other readers.

Be the first. Add a review and share your thoughts with other readers. Smallpox -- Vaccination -- Great Britain -- History -- 19th century. Vaccination -- history. Health Policy -- history. History, 19th Century. History, 20th Century. Mandatory Programs -- history.


  • Bodily matters : the anti-vaccination movement in England, in SearchWorks catalog;
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Mass Vaccination -- history. Socioeconomic Factors. Treatment Refusal. Anti-vaccination movement. Smallpox -- Vaccination. Great Britain.

User lists with this item 1 radical political economy items by iamwaiting updated Linked Data More info about Linked Data. All rights reserved. Remember me on this computer. Contents The parliamentary lancet Fighting the "babies battle" Populism, citizenship, and the politics of Victorian liberalism The body politics of class formation Vampires, vivisectors, and the Victorian body Germs, dirt, and the constitution Class, gender, and the conscientious objector.

Bulletin of the History of Medicine

Summary "Bodily Matters" explores the anti-vaccination movement that emerged in England in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth in response to government-mandated smallpox vaccination. By requiring a painful and sometimes dangerous medical procedure for all infants, the Compulsory Vaccination Act set an important precedent for state regulation of bodies. From its inception in until its demise in , the compulsory smallpox vaccine was fiercely resisted, largely by members of the working class who interpreted it as an infringement of their rights as citizens and a violation of their children's bodies.

Nadja Durbach contends that the anti-vaccination movement is historically significant not only because it was arguably the largest medical resistance campaign ever mounted in Europe but also because it clearly articulated pervasive anxieties regarding the integrity of the body and the role of the modern state. Analyzing historical documents on both sides of the vaccination debate, Durbach focuses on the key events and rhetorical strategies of the resistance campaign.

She shows that those for and against the vaccine had very different ideas about how human bodies worked and how best to safeguard them from disease. Individuals opposed to mandatory vaccination saw their own and their children's bodies not as potentially contagious and thus dangerous to society but rather as highly vulnerable to contamination and violation.

Bibliographic information. Browse related items Start at call number: RA S6 D Librarian view Catkey: Eight days later, the parent was required to bring the child back: those who had developed vesicles had the lymph harvested for direct application to another child.

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Bodily matters : the anti-vaccination movement in England, 1853-1907

The better-off had their children vaccinated privately, with calf lymph or lymph taken from a child whose pedigree they knew. Vaccination was deplored not only because it was risky or unsanitary but also because it contravened deeply held beliefs about the integrity of the body and its fluids. In her most intriguing chapter, Durbach shows how, in popular treatments, the figure of the vaccinator morphed easily into the figure of the vampire: a foreign and predatory man who sucked the blood of his victims, leaving them disfigured or dead.

For some anti-vaccinationists, germ theory was simply a strategic discourse invented by a state unwilling to grapple with the core problems of poor sanitation and overcrowding. True, plenty of middle-class people objected to compulsory vaccination for the same libertarian reasons they objected to the state regulation of prostitution, but the bulk of support — and a rather different, more aggressive type of support — came from those lower down the social scale.

For compulsory vaccination hit the poor in particular: it was the poor who had to be vaccinated at the despised Poor Law hospitals, the poor whose children were smeared seriatim with lymph of unknown provenance, the poor who would find it hard to pay the fines levied on resisters, and the poor who went to prison if unable to find the cash.