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The Age of Stress: Science and the Search for Stability
     

The Age of Stress: Science and the Search for Stability

by Mark Jackson
 

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We are living in a stressful world, yet despite our familiarity with the notion, stress remains an elusive concept. In The Age of Stress, Mark Jackson explores the history of scientific studies of stress in the modern world. In particular, he reveals how the science that legitimates and fuels current anxieties about stress has been shaped by a wide range

Overview


We are living in a stressful world, yet despite our familiarity with the notion, stress remains an elusive concept. In The Age of Stress, Mark Jackson explores the history of scientific studies of stress in the modern world. In particular, he reveals how the science that legitimates and fuels current anxieties about stress has been shaped by a wide range of socio-political and cultural, as well as biological, factors: stress, he argues, is both a condition and a metaphor.

In order to understand the ubiquity and impact of stress in our own times, or to explain how stress has commandeered such a central place in the modern imagination, Jackson suggests that we need to comprehend not only the evolution of the medical science and technology that has gradually uncovered the biological pathways between stress and disease in recent decades, but also the shifting social, economic, and cultural contexts that have invested that scientific knowledge with meaning and authority. In particular, he argues, we need to acknowledge the manner in which enduring concerns about the effects of stress on mental and physical health are the product of broader historical preoccupations with the preservation of personal and political, as well as physiological, stability.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Mark Jackson's Age of Stress is an exemplary contribution to the historiography of modern psychology, psychiatry, disease and illness. International in scope, Jacksons study skilfully illuminates the development and evolution of a key medical concept that has increasingly defined and structured various aspects of modern human existence. Further to being a significant addition to the history of twentieth-century medicine, The Age of Stress will prove invaluable to social and economic historians of the modern period." - The British Journal for the History of Science

"Jackson argues that stress is the emblematic medical but also cultural condition, not just of our own age, but of modern times. In doing so, he juxtaposes a carefully told story of how medical science developed a theory of stress to make sense of keeping bodies and minds in healthy balance, with a story of how stress as a metaphor came to be deployed in popular culture and in thinking about political stability, economic security, and even the harmony of the cosmos ... The Age of Stress may invite not just a series of more detailed case studies but also a study of even greater ambition. This is a mark of its considerable achievement." - Social History of Medicine

"no-one tells the scientific story of stress better than Mark Jackson, one of the most influential historians of medicine in Anglo-American worlds ... Jackson shows that the 'stress' was a complex, flexible concept, which could be profoundly helpful in imposing some kind of stability and meaningfulness in an often chaotic world. As in Auden's dramatic poem, 'The Age of Anxiety', stress was a most useful analogy for the 20th century. Jackson's book promises to become a classic for anyone curious about how the language of stress became the lingua franca of our times." -Reviews in History

"This is a thoroughly-researched book and a lively story. It unfolds with the rigour of scholarly study but with much of the appeal of the popular histories cited [above], and the ubiquity of stress in the twenty-first century makes this both an important scholarly work as well as a pleasure to read for its very productive chapter 'Coping with Stress' as well as 'The Cathedral of Stress.'" - Years Work in Critical and Cultural Theory

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780199588626
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
05/19/2013
Pages:
328
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.30(h) x 0.90(d)

Meet the Author

Mark Jackson was Director of the Centre for Medical History at the University of Exeter between 2000 and 2010. He served as Chair of the Wellcome Trust History of Medicine Funding Committee between 2003 and 2008 and is currently Chair of the Wellcome Trust Research Resources in Medical History Funding Committee. He has taught modules in the history of medicine and the history and philosophy of science for over twenty years. His books include Newborn Child Murder (1996), The Borderland of Imbecility (2000), Infanticide: Historical Perspectives on Child Murder and Concealment 1550-2000 (ed., 2002), Allergy: The History of a Modern Malady (2006), Health and the Modern Home (ed., 2007), Asthma: The Biography (2009), and The Oxford Handbook of the History of Medicine (ed., 2011).

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