Abstract

Although electricity had been used for healing purposes in the late 1740s, it was not until 1770 that it was truly medicalized. The article analyzes how physicians incorporated the fashionable "fluid" and the machines that produced it into their practices and identities. Doctors fashioned electricity as a medical remedy, asserting their authority upon its therapeutic uses. Nonetheless other users were involved such as patients, handlers, and audiences. However, due to the black-boxing process orchestrated by physicians their roles have been neglected. As the domestication of medical electricity and selfmedication challenged medicalization, hospital based treatments were developed, which reinforced medical expertise. Even so, the process remained incomplete and natural philosophers as well as surgeons maintained alternative practices.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1097-3729
Print ISSN
0040-165X
Pages
pp. 503-530
Launched on MUSE
2013-09-03
Open Access
No
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