From the Midwife’s Bag to the Patient’s File. Public Health in Eastern Europe

Friederike Kind-Kovács – Sara Bernasconi – Heike Karge

From the Midwife’s Bag to the Patient’s File. Public Health in Eastern Europe

This volume offers an analysis of the relationship between public health and the biopolitical dimensions of state- and nation building in Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe. It challenges the idea of diverging paths towards modernity of Europe’s western and eastern countries. It not only identifies ideas, discourses and practices of ‘solving’ public health issues that were shared among political regimes in the region. It also uncovers the ways in which the biopolitical organization of the state both originated from and shaped an emerging common European framework. The broad range of local case studies stretches from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Czechoslovakia, the GDR, Greece and Hungary, to Poland, Serbia, the Soviet Union, and Yugoslavia. Taking a time span that begins in the late nineteenth century and ends in the post-socialist era, the book makes an original contribution to the social history of medicine in Europe’s long twentieth century. Close readings and dense descriptions of local discourses and practices of public health help to identify transnational entanglements on the regional, European, and global level.


Heike Karge, Friederike Kind-Kovács and Sara Bernasconi: Introduction: From the Midwife’s Bag to the Patient’s File: Public Health in Eastern and Southeastern Europe

Part I: (Medical) Agents and Modern State Building

Chapter I: Maria Zarifi: Moving Backward Toward Modernity: The Role of the Medical Council in the Organization of Public Health in Greece, 1834–1924

Chapter II: Angelika Strobel: Creating the “Railway Population”: Public Health and Statistics in Late Imperial Russia

Chapter III: Justyna A. Turkowska: Mastering Troubling Borders: The Ambivalence of Medical Modernization in the Prussian Province of Posen

Chapter IV: Sara Bernasconi: The Material Side of Modernity: The Midwife’s Bag in Bosnia and Herzegovina around the Turn of the Century

PART II: Health after Europe’s World War

Chapter V: Katrin Steffen: Who Belongs to the Healthy Body of the Nation? Health and National Integration in Poland and the Polish Army after the First World War

Chapter VI: Friederike Kind-Kovács: Transatlantic Humanitarianism: Jewish Child Relief in Budapest after the Great War

Chapter VII: Alexander Friedman: The Bodily Disabled as a Poster Boy–Veteran: War Invalids in the Soviet Union after the Second World War

Chapter VIII: Heike Karge: Afflicted Heroes: The Rise and Fall of Yugoslav War Neurosis after the Second World War

Part III: Regulating Societies after 1945: State-Socialist Policies and Legacies

Chapter IX: Fanny Le Bonhomme: Politics and Family Conflicts through the Psychiatric Lens: East Berlin’s Charité in the early GDR

Chapter X: Esther Wahlen: Turning Women into Alcoholics: The Politics of Alcohol in Late Socialist Czechoslovakia

Collective Bibliography

$70.00 / €62.00 / £54.00
Part of series:
CEU Press Studies in the History of Medicine
Publication date:
358 pages, 19 photos

Chapter XII: Andre Thiemann: Underimplementing the Law: Social Work, Bureaucratic Error, and the Politics of Distribution in Postsocialist Serbia



Author: Aisseco

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