dimanche 27 juin 2021

Nightingale et la réforme de la pratique médicale militaire

The Ledgers of Death: Florence Nightingale and the battle to reform army medical practice after the Crimean War

Lecture by William Jackson, University of Aberdeen

Dear all,

The next on-line seminar of the Centre for History and Philosophy of Science, Technology and Medicine (CHPSTM) at the University of Aberdeen will be held next Wednesday, 30 June, at 11 am, via Teams.

Accounting and the concept of accountability have been around as long as human civilization and are intrinsic to it. The earliest known writing system (proto-cuneiform) was used largely for bookkeeping (earlier non-written forms of record keeping and accounting exist) and historians such as Sombart and Chandler have linked accounting to the rise of capitalism and modern business organisation. Less has been said about the influence of accounting on the public and not for profit spheres, which are the focus of this paper. Extensive research has pointed to accounting’s ability to create particular visibilities; highlighting and giving priority to some aspects of organisational and social activity over others, thus leading to particular understandings and structuring of organisational and social spaces. This work looks at the way in which various forms of record keeping about the activities of hospitals during the Crimean War were collated and combined to give a specific understanding of the causes of the catastrophic mortality rates experienced at Scutari and other military hospitals during the first winter of the war. Reformers led by Florence Nightingale used evidence from the war to illuminate the failures of the administration that were seen as systemic rather than individual. Her evidence to the royal commission, along with her organisation witnesses, was instrumental in promoting material administrative reform in the army and its medical core, with new systems implemented that prevented a repeat of the Crimean disaster.

The seminar will consist of a 20- to 30-minute presentation with 30 minutes or so for discussion afterwards. As always, all are welcome. For a link to the Teams meeting, or for further information, please contact me on e.packham@abdn.ac.uk.

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