chapter  6
16 Pages

The nutritional policing of families

Let us begin this chapter by looking at the changing nature of medicine in eighteenth century Europe. In his essay ‘The politics of health in the eighteenth-century’, Foucault (1980d) alerts us to two characteristics of eighteenth-century medicine: first, the privileging of the child and the medicalisation of the family; and, second, the promotion of hygiene as a bona fide role of the doctor which opened a new field of noso-politics in the community. Up to the eighteenth century the general hospital was a repository for not only the sick but also the poor, the mad and the destitute.