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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

Chapter:
(p.245) Chapter 7 Personal Hygiene
Source:
Governing Systems
Author(s):

Tom Crook

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520290341.003.0007

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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