The Anti-Vaccination Movement in England, 1853-1907 (Radical Perspectives)
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Analyzing historical documents on both sides of the vaccination debate, Durbach focuses on the key events and rhetorical strategies of the resistance campaign. She shows that those for and against the vaccine had very different ideas about how human bodies worked and how best to safeguard them from disease. Individuals opposed to mandatory vaccination saw their own and their children's bodies not as potentially contagious and thus dangerous to society but rather as highly vulnerable to contamination and violation. Bodily Matters challenges the notion that resistance to vaccination can best be understood, and thus easily dismissed, as the ravings of an unscientific "lunatic fringe." It locates the anti-vaccination movement at the very center of broad public debates in Victorian England over medical developments, the politics of class, the extent of government intervention into the private lives of its citizens, and the values of a liberal society.
Duke University Press, 9780822334231, 296pp.
Publication Date: December 30, 2004