The build-up of the medical speech and the art of governing the body. Health and moral in the occidental Low Middle Age

Miguel Vicente Pedraz

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Vicente Pedraz, M. (1999). The build-up of the medical speech and the art of governing the body. Health and moral in the occidental Low Middle Age. Apunts. Educación Física y Deportes, 57, 10-18.

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Abstract

Medicine and the relationships which this implies in relation to the forms of thinking and taking shape in advanced societies as a form of control over individuals and, to crown it all, as one of the most important cruxes on which we articulate a certain homogeneity of behaviour. Very closed linked to power, the medical address has always been immersed in (or allied to or mediated by) moral discourse, dominating to such an extend that the relationships which even today we establish between health and virtue or between illness and deviation are the result of a long, complicated process of ideological construction. In this process, the secularisation of the human relationships typical of industrial societies, make up, as explained in critical writings of history, a key element in the interpretation of modern ways of dominating the body: nevertheless, it is possible to find antecedents of this process in periods before industrialisation which historical analysis cannot refuse to understand. We try to find out, in what appears to us a key period in the construction of knowledge and power over the body, the Middle Ages, where the religious imaginative of illness and the increase of universities influence the development of the medical profession, marking in a definitive way, the later confirmation of western health ethics, in particular, and the relationships of power over the body, in general.

ISSN: 1577-4015

Published: July 01, 1999