Theory and Practice from the Medieval to the Modern
Fritz Dross Their Daily Bread: Managing Hospital Finances in Early Modern Germany
Roy Porter’s famous call in 1985 for the ‘patient’s view’ in the history of medicine, coupled with the development of a theoretical framework of ‘medicalisation’, has focused research attention on the relationship between patients and physicians and the organisational arrangement of hospitals in providing physical and medical care.1 The underlying hypothesis was that the increasing use by hospitals of paid university-trained physicians instead of priests and other religious workers to perform medical opera- tions justified their description as ‘modern’. However, John Henderson, after intensively studying (northern) Italian hospitals of the Renaissance, which are generally considered to represent a major turning-point within the history of hospitals, has denied ‘that the Renaissance represented an abrupt break with the Middle Ages, whether in terms of political thought 1 Roy Porter, ‘The Patient’s View. Doing Medical History from Below’, Theory and Society 14 (1985), 175–198; Philip Rieder, La figure du patient au XVIIIe siècle (Genève: Droz 2010), 9–1. The term ‘medicalisation’ goes back to Michel Foucault and aims to conceptualise a general development in modern societies starting in late eighteenth century France and historiographically strengthening the conjunction of social his- tory with the history of medicine. See Colin Jones, ‘Montpellier Medical Students and the Medicalisation of 18th-Century France’, in Roy Porter, and Andrew Wear, eds, Problems and methods in the history of medicine (London: Croom Helm 1987), 57–81; Colin Jones and Roy Porter, eds, Reassessing Foucault. Power, medicine and the body (London: Routledge 1994); Philip Rieder, ‘Medicalisation out of...
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