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ERIC Number: EJ996708
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Feb
Pages: 24
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0018-2680
From Apprentice to Master: Social Disciplining and Surgical Education in Early Modern London, 1570-1640
Chamberland, Celeste
History of Education Quarterly, v53 n1 p21-44 Feb 2013
Due to its ascendancy as the administrative and commercial center of early modern England, London experienced sustained growth in the latter half of the sixteenth century, as waves of rural immigrants sought to enhance their material conditions by tapping into the city's bustling occupational and civic networks. The resultant crowded urban landscape fostered mounting demand for medical services, since injuries and ailments, ranging from consumption to contusions, proliferated within the city's teeming streets and markets. Due to consistently strong patient demand and the conventions of English common law, which stipulated that legal authorization to practice medicine was solely contingent upon patient consent, peddling medical services to the city's ill and infirm became an increasingly appealing--and potentially lucrative--venture. Consequently, London's largely unregulated medical marketplace--characterized by competition for patients, the mounting influence of print culture, and the emergence of small commercial networks--attracted a diverse array of practitioners, including university-educated physicians, guild-licensed surgeons, and a medley of specialist and itinerant practitioners. In the absence of effective institutional regulation, distinctions between medical practitioners and modes of treatment were often difficult to discern due to a lack of clearly defined legal demarcations. In response to such occupational fluidity, the Barber-Surgeons' Company--London's largest body of licensed medical practitioners and the city's only guilded branch of medicine before the advent of the Apothecaries' Company in 1617--endeavored to maintain exclusive control over the practice of surgery within the city. To prevent the encroachment of interlopers and foreign practitioners ineligible for guild membership, Company members devised an array of semiformal educational networks that reinforced their desire to train surgeons as proficient artisans, morally upright representatives of their occupational group, and agents of intellectual traditions ostensibly inaccessible to those excluded from the Company's ranks. Drawing inspiration from Andrew Abbott's notion of jurisdiction in the control of occupational skill and knowledge, this study argues that surgical education in early modern London was characterized by a synthesis of theoretical, experiential, and moral components that enabled members of the Barber-Surgeons' Company to bolster their expertise and erect occupational boundaries. By emulating prevailing paradigms of social disciplining--processes through which civic and guild authorities upheld order and stability within their communities by prescribing conventions of propriety and etiquette--the Company's self-conscious efforts to establish standards of occupational decorum and repress deviance not only mitigated the encroachment of interlopers, but also reinforced the nascent pre-professionalization of London's surgeons. (Contains 96 footnotes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom (London)