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Journal Articles Social History of Medicine Year : 2007

The Social History of Medicine: Beyond the Local


Editors of Social History of Medicine (SHM) have been very successful in extending the geographic range covered by the journal. The impressive geographic diversity of studies published in SHM has not, however, led to a parallel presence of comparative historical investigations. This article is a plea for promoting a comparative social history of medicine. Diseases are trans-national phenomena; medicine and public health are often global endeavours; medical practice is influenced by international rules and regulations, and by global economic and political trends; medical researchers and medical practitioners travel, as do their ideas, and developments in one country may affect those in other countries. Moreover, trans-national comparisons may display unexpected differences and/or surprising similarities; questions initially studied in one context can acquire a different meaning when transposed to another situation; a juxtaposition of developments in several sites can provide information impossible to obtain in single-site studies. Moving in space and not only in time can open new questions on interactions between medicine and society, and deepen our understanding of already existing ones.

Dates and versions

hal-03476943 , version 1 (13-12-2021)



Ilana Löwy. The Social History of Medicine: Beyond the Local. Social History of Medicine, 2007, 20 (3), pp.465-481. ⟨10.1093/shm/hkm073⟩. ⟨hal-03476943⟩
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