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Title: 'The most startling innovation' : ovarian surgery in Britain, c.1740-1939
Author: Frampton, S. C.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5363 4170
Awarding Body: University College London (University of London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2014
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Ovarian surgery was a topic of considerable interest to European surgeons during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. In the 1830s extirpation of the diseased ovary became the first major abdominal procedure to come into use in Britain and in 1843 the term ‘ovariotomy’ was coined to describe the procedure. Yet the operation’s ‘establishment’ was fraught with anxieties that went to the heart of surgical morality. Alternatively framed as a triumphant episode of surgical progress and a symbol of Victorian surgeons’ attempts to ‘control’ female patients with brutal and unnecessary surgery, this thesis adopts a different approach by considering what ovarian surgery can tell us about innovation. With the procedure at its centre, this thesis traces the intricacies particular to negotiating novelty in operative surgery, and how the use of ovariotomy raised significant questions regarding risk, responsibility, credit, economics and surgical language. What emerges is a history that challenges not only previous historicization of ovarian surgery, but also histories of innovation which imagine novel products as stable entities and the innovation process as one that follows a linear pattern. Ovarian surgery, on the contrary, followed no such pattern. At the heart of the debate – and at the heart of this thesis – is the question of definition. The integration of ovariotomy, I argue, was a complex process because the meaning and definition of the innovation was continually contested as the operation was repeatedly re-shaped technically, philosophically and linguistically.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available