The theory and trend of microhistory: History of medicine

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The Korean Society for the History of Medicine Strange Death of Margarita Marcellini," David Cressy's Travesties and Transgressions in Tudor and Stuart England, and Laurel Thatcher Ulrich's A Midwife's Tale clearly demonstrate the attributes, characteristics, and methodologies of microhistory. These studies well display the emphasis of microhistory, which reveal the complexity of early modern medicine, and the complicated function of individual relationships within each and every social setting. Recently, some scholars begin to suggest that the rigid definition of microhistory should be softened, arguing that there could be various types of microhistory. The history of medicine has many advantage of aptly applying many virtues of microhistory: the de-territoriality of diseases, the peculiar elements of the training and practice in hospitals and medical schools which call for anthropological survey, and the possibility of utilizing doctor's records that contain the confessions of the patients. Also, medical historians need to expand the scope of medical provider for their analysis, incorporating pseudo-medical doctor. The essential property of microhistory should be found in its request for various new subjects and fresh perspectives

Microhistory, first developed in the 1970s, is the study of the past on a very small scale applying zoom-in methodology. Although microhistory had been introduced to Korea during the late 1990s, there still exists much of misunderstanding and confusions surrounding its nature. Microhistory is to be distinguished from the monographs which deal with petty subject, or from the history of everyday life, and from the case studies. In the field of the history of medicine, there are not many microhistories proper. Several works that claim to utilize microhistorical approach, could not be categorized as microhistory because they carry strong characteristics of macrohistory, specifically those of the disciplinary history or the case studies. The well known work of Harold J. Cook, Trials of an Ordinary Doctor, is not an exception. These studies fail to materialize the critical mind of microhistory that pursues to write a history from below and to restore the agency of obscure people. However, Guido Ruggiero's "The

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)325-354
Number of pages30
JournalKorean Journal of Medical History
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Aug 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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