Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: 10.25143/amhr.2021.XIV.05
Title: Changing objects of therapeutics – how neurasthenia affected scientific transfer between Germany and Sweden
Authors: Gavallér, Yvonne
Keywords: scientific transfer;circulation of knowledge;material culture;late 19th / early 20th century
Issue Date: 2021
Publisher: RSU Medicīnas vēstures institūts. Paula Stradiņa Medicīnas vēstures muzejs.
Abstract: This paper discusses the transfer of knowledge between Germany and Sweden within the therapeutics of neurasthenia around 1900. The latter was a worldwide spread disease phenomenon and involved such a variance of symptoms that it is retrospectively considered a cultural condition that was strongly linked to medical fashions. As causes of transfer and change in therapeutics, cultural move- ments have been little explored in research so far. Based on the analysis of transfers and an evaluation of medical objects, the following text aims to show the entanglement between Germany and Sweden on both a sci- entific and societal level as well as their impact on the therapy of neur- asthenia. In the popularity of the Swedish medical treatment method of medicomechanics in Germany, this connection becomes particularly obvi- ous. The enhancements and imitations of the objects used in mechanical gymnastics represent a scientific transfer on the level of medicine, which took place in parallel with cultural trends, political changes and technological knowledge. The constant change which the objects of neurasthenia therapy were subject to, was marked by the paradoxical use of a technology-affine medicine to treat a technology-induced disease. With the rediscovery of naturopathic methods within the new body culture, however, the Zander apparatuses underwent an evolution. The Swedish objects have been adopted by users from merely medical technology into new contexts of action – for example, as tools for self-optimisation of the body.
DOI: 10.25143/amhr.2021.XIV.05
ISSN: 1022-8012
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