Högskolans skriftserier

Tools of the Trade

Medical Devices and Practice in Sweden and Denmark, 1855-1897

Omslag för Tools of the Trade: Medical Devices and Practice in Sweden and Denmark, 1855-1897

Halverson, Kristin

Nineteenth-century medicine is characterised by rapid technological change, new methods of diagnostics and treatments of disease, far-reaching developments in medical science, and professionalisation. This has led to great interest in the period and a large body of scholarly and popular research. However, much of this scholarship studies British, German and French contexts. There is a pressing need to study how knowledge and practice were transferred between regions and how medical technologies were adapted locally.

In this study, I examine changes in medical practice in Sweden and Denmark by centring medical devices, as they were described and discussed in Swedish and Danish medical journals between 1855 and 1897. This is done by exploring the relationships between device, practice, and knowledge in four technological areas and how their use was explained in these journals. The four technological areas are lensed and mirrored instruments for examining the nose, throat, and eyes; orthopaedic treatment; antisepsis according to Joseph Lister; and asepsis. All four areas are well-researched internationally but entail a number of local particularities. These are significant in understanding local circumstances involved in their practical adoption.

The analysis of these areas illustrates that, despite the international exchange of medical knowledge, knowledge was not always translated into practice seamlessly, in particular when involving the use of devices. Because of this, many of the articles exploring these technologies were instructional and attuned to local conditions. Practice unfolded in different ways, accounting for local circumstances. This thesis highlights the importance of examining the proliferation of nineteenth-century medical technologies on the local level and in practice, in order to better understand the practical predicaments involved in their use.

Huddinge : Södertörns högskola, 2022. 236 sidor.

ISBN 978-91-89504-03-5

Serie: Södertörn Doctoral Dissertations, 1652-7399 ; 203

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