Balancing the self

Medicine, politics and the regulation of health in the twentieth century

Edited by Mark Jackson and Martin D. Moore

Balancing the self


  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-3213-0
  • Pages: 368
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £25.00
  • Published Date: March 2020
  • BIC Category: HISTORY / Social History, MEDICAL / History, Personal & Public Health, Medical Sociology, Humanities / Social & cultural history, Medicine / History of medicine
  • Series: Social Histories of Medicine


Balancing the Self explores the diverse ways in which balanced and unbalanced selfhoods have been subject to construction, intervention and challenge across the long twentieth century. Chapters on diabetes, 'sensible drinking', obesity control, dietetic regulation, fatigue, heart disease, physical and emotional extremes, Parkinson's disease and other conditions understood in terms of disordered balance analyse the ways in which the mechanisms and meanings of balance have been framed historically. Together, contributions examine the positive narratives that have been attached to the ideals and practices of `self-help', and the extent to which rhetorics of empowerment and responsibility have been used for a variety of purposes, from disciplining bodies to cutting social security provision.


Introduction: balancing the self in the twentieth century - Mark Jackson and Martin D. Moore

Part I: Configuring balance
2 Balance and the 'good' diabetic in Britain, c.1900-1960 - Martin D. Moore
3 From the alcoholic to the sensible drinker: alcohol health education campaigns in England - Alex Mold
4 `Look After Yourself': visualising obesity as a public health concern in 1970s and 1980s Britain - Jane Hand

Part II: Regulating imbalance
5 Self-help and self-promotion: dietary advice and agency in North America and Britain - Nicos Kefalas
6 Your life in your hands: teaching `relaxed living' in post-war Britain - Ayesha Nathoo
7 Pilot fatigue and the regulation of airline schedules in post-war Britain - Natasha Feiner

Part III: Reconfiguring balance
8 Extreme acts: narratives of balance and moderation at the limits of human performance - Vanessa Heggie
9 Self-help, marriage guidance and the making of the midlife crisis - Mark Jackson
10 Balancing contested meanings of creativity and pathology in Parkinson's Disease - Dorothy Porter

11 Conclusion: balance, malleability and anthropology: historical contexts - Chris Millard


Mark Jackson is Professor of the History of Medicine and Director of the Wellcome Centre for Cultures and Environments of Health at the University of Exeter

Martin D. Moore is a Research Fellow at the Wellcome Centre for Cultures and Environments of Health at the University of Exeter

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