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Historicizing health and education

Historicizing health and education PurposeThe purpose of this paper is to examine the historical roots of the modern relationship between health and education. The author draws on the work of Michel Foucault and Georges Canguilhem to make the case that the transformation of medical knowledge in the early nineteenth century created new ways knowing that was the foundation of a modern relationship between health and education.Design/methodology/approachUsing the archives of ophthalmology, the author demonstrates how new medical knowledge and scientific methods were the basis of investigations of the eyesight of school children in the early nineteenth century. These investigations reflected the nineteenth century scientific ethos that placed a premium on techniques such as counting, measuring, statistical reasoning, and empirical observation to form the grounds of legitimacy of an autonomous “objective” knowledge. The modern relationship between health and education was an instance of a generalized medico-scientific interest in the health of populations that utilized the methods of empirical positivist science whose speculative interest was aimed at defining the normal.FindingsScientific investigations of the eyesight of school children in the early nineteenth century contributed to the formation of an anatomo-politics of the body and a biopolitics of population through a “medical mathematics” that defined a relation between eyesight, health and education.Originality/valueThis study illustrates how sources such as the archives of ophthalmology can broaden and deepen our understanding of the relation between health and education. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png History of Education Review Emerald Publishing

Historicizing health and education

History of Education Review , Volume 46 (2): 11 – Oct 2, 2017

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © Emerald Group Publishing Limited
ISSN
0819-8691
DOI
10.1108/HER-03-2016-0018
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

PurposeThe purpose of this paper is to examine the historical roots of the modern relationship between health and education. The author draws on the work of Michel Foucault and Georges Canguilhem to make the case that the transformation of medical knowledge in the early nineteenth century created new ways knowing that was the foundation of a modern relationship between health and education.Design/methodology/approachUsing the archives of ophthalmology, the author demonstrates how new medical knowledge and scientific methods were the basis of investigations of the eyesight of school children in the early nineteenth century. These investigations reflected the nineteenth century scientific ethos that placed a premium on techniques such as counting, measuring, statistical reasoning, and empirical observation to form the grounds of legitimacy of an autonomous “objective” knowledge. The modern relationship between health and education was an instance of a generalized medico-scientific interest in the health of populations that utilized the methods of empirical positivist science whose speculative interest was aimed at defining the normal.FindingsScientific investigations of the eyesight of school children in the early nineteenth century contributed to the formation of an anatomo-politics of the body and a biopolitics of population through a “medical mathematics” that defined a relation between eyesight, health and education.Originality/valueThis study illustrates how sources such as the archives of ophthalmology can broaden and deepen our understanding of the relation between health and education.

Journal

History of Education ReviewEmerald Publishing

Published: Oct 2, 2017

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