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Governing SystemsModernity and the Making of Public Health in England, 1830-1910$
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Tom Crook

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780520290341

Published to California Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520290341.001.0001

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Personal Hygiene

Personal Hygiene

Cleanliness, Class, and the Habitual Self

(p.245) Chapter 7 Personal Hygiene
Governing Systems

Tom Crook

University of California Press

This chapter examines the emergence, promotion, and practice of individual habits of cleanliness. It is argued that these were part of a novel domain of personal or private hygiene, one that was now routinely distinguished from a public domain of legal regulation and bureaucratic oversight. But although habits of cleanliness were certainly personal and private, in the sense that they were a question of the self-governance of bodily details, they were also a matter of governance much beyond the self, relying on novel technologies and the ongoing promotion of a medley of moral and physical norms of conduct. Furthermore, making these habits entailed confronting one of the key axes of English society, class, and working with a public fractured by differential wealth and status. In these respects, it made fora very public process of private habit formation.

Keywords:   class, habits, personal cleanliness, private hygiene, self-governance, technology

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