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Samhälle, vetenskap och obstetrik: Elis Essen-Möller och kvinnokliniken i Lund
Uppsala University, Humanistisk-samhällsvetenskapliga vetenskapsområdet, Faculty of Arts, Department of History of Science and Ideas.
2007 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
Society, Science and Obstetrics : Elis Essen-Möller and the Woman's Clinic in Lund (English)
Abstract [en]

This dissertation deals with issues of power and medicine in the context of early twentieth century Swedish obstetrics and gynaecology. The study starts at rather a narrow point of investigation with a general history of Lund University Hospital and a few of its main characters. The scope is thereafter gradually widened through chapters II, III and IV, to encompass a case study of the professor of gynaecology and obstetrics at Lund University Hospital Elis Essen-Möller (1870–1956) and his 1918 state of the art Woman’s Clinic, a spatial study of the clinic as it relates to the newly established social hierarchy within the Swedish field of medicine, and a study of the role played by Elis Essen-Möller in the initial years of Swedish efforts to legalise eugenic sterilisations.

Dealing with the social structures of medicine rather than its actual science and it’s patients, the theories of French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu are applied throughout the text, as it is concluded that Swedish medicine formed a new professional field around the turn of the century 1900. Medicine then acted as a collective force of power within society, led by its academic elite, i.e. the professors of the Swedish medical faculties. This elite would then become one of the leading forces of power behind the work to legalise eugenic sterilisations in Sweden. In fact, Elis Essen-Möller was the one to initialise this work by publishing his notes on two sterilisations at the Lund clinic; offering them as the base for further discussion. The Woman’s Clinic is shown to have been one of the central prerequisites for the implementation of these laws, as it offered the possibilities to make sterilisation a tool to be applied for the benefit of society; on the one hand disciplining the female body into Motherhood and on the other creating her reproductive counterpart: the sterilised woman.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis , 2007. , 254 p.
ACTA, Uppsala Studies in History of Ideas, ISSN 1653-5197 ; 37
Keyword [en]
History of medicine, history of medicine, history of obstetrics and gynaecology, Swedish 20th century history, eugenics, Lund University Hospital, Elis Essen-Möller, Jacques Borelius, Pierre Bourdieu
Keyword [sv]
Research subject
History Of Sciences and Ideas
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-8231ISBN: 978-91-554-6979-5OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-8231DiVA: diva2:170776
Public defence
2007-10-26, Auditorium Minus, Museum Gustavianum, Akademigatan 3, Uppsala, 10:15
Available from: 2007-10-05 Created: 2007-10-05Bibliographically approved

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