The Tyranny of the Microbe: Microbial Mentalities in New Zealand, c.1880–1915

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dc.contributor.advisor Bryder, L en
dc.contributor.advisor Barton, R en
dc.contributor.advisor Dow, D en Ford, Katrina en 2013-09-19T03:21:44Z en 2013 en
dc.identifier.uri en
dc.description.abstract This thesis explores the development of ideas about germs in New Zealand, c.1880–1915. The examination of these concepts of disease provides new insights into the assumptions, anxieties and ideals of society and culture at a pivotal point in New Zealand history. This study offers a thematic account of public health cultures, through a survey of several physical and conceptual domains. It analyses medicine, hospitals, agricultural, personal space, infant welfare, schools and race as interconnected sites where ideas about germs, or ‘microbial mentalities’, were formed and contested. From this, several themes emerge. Concepts of disease were constructed in the context of global networks of exchanges in ideas, people and diseases. These ways of thinking about disease helped people to conceive the connections between distant places, bringing New Zealand closer to the rest of the world. They shaped the meanings of progress, as the behaviours associated with avoiding germs represented some of the most immediate and intimate ways people experienced the impact of modern science. Discussions about germs were also opportunities to critique the effects of science and progress, as people complained of ‘the tyranny of the microbe’ in modern life. Despite the contemporary rhetoric of revolutionary change in medicine, this study argues that older concepts of disease continued to have relevance; germs were not the only elements in people’s understandings of health and disease. By situating the creation of microbial mentalities in New Zealand in the intellectual, cultural and economic exchanges between various parts of the world, this thesis offers fresh insights to a historiography of public health which has often concentrated upon narrower national narratives. It also offers new perspectives on the connections between the various domains of society and culture that contributed to the understanding of public health. en
dc.publisher ResearchSpace@Auckland en
dc.relation.ispartof PhD Thesis - University of Auckland en
dc.rights Items in ResearchSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated. Previously published items are made available in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. en
dc.rights.uri en
dc.title The Tyranny of the Microbe: Microbial Mentalities in New Zealand, c.1880–1915 en
dc.type Thesis en The University of Auckland en Doctoral en PhD en
dc.rights.holder Copyright: The Author en en
dc.rights.accessrights en
pubs.elements-id 406707 en Arts en Humanities en History en
pubs.record-created-at-source-date 2013-09-19 en

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