Challenging Incommunicability: Tool Use amongst Women Medical Practitioners in Britain (1860-1914)

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This article considers the extent to which British women seeking recognition as medical professionals engaged with tools to construct themselves as medically authoritative in the decades surrounding 1900. Concentrating on two technical forms (microscopes and electricity-producing devices), it demonstrates that tool use became increasingly significant for a wide range of women concerned with medicine at this time. Medicine-related tools became important for women because they could confer a form of authority on their statements and practices that challenged the prevailing critique that their bodies were inadequate to medical pursuits. By addressing women medical microscopists, as well as the emergence of controversies at the Incorporated Society of Trained Masseuses between 1910 and 1914, it is shown that this strategy of professionalisation unsettled established ideals regarding proper relations between men and women within medicine.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
JournalSocial History of Medicine
Early online date19 Mar 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018