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Title: Unhealthy city? : public health in interwar Glasgow, 1919-1939
Author: Dunlop, Leanne
ISNI:       0000 0004 2743 6031
Awarding Body: University of Strathclyde
Current Institution: University of Strathclyde
Date of Award: 2012
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This thesis examines the 'healthy-hungry thirties' debate from a Scottish perspective by analysing public health in Glasgow between 1919 and 1939. The extent to which British health improved or deteriorated in the period between the two World Wars is a point of contention among historians. Traditionally, 'optimist' historians such as Stevenson, Aldcroft and Winter have argued that mortality and morbidity rates improved, while 'pessimists' like Mitchell and Webster argue that the economic recession impacted adversely upon health. More recently however, writers like Jenkinson and Thompson have emphasised the importance of considering this debate from a regional perspective and on the intricacies and complexities of public health statistics according to different social criteria. Eschewing the optimist- pessimist visions of the Depression that dominate the literature, this study focuses upon highlighting divergences in experience according to variables such as location, social class, e mployment position, age, marital status and gender. It explores the role of individual agency and emphasises the multiplicity of social, economic and cultural exchanges which fashioned health experiences. By analysing both qualitative and quantitative material from sources including medical journals, parliamentary papers, newspaper articles, contemporary literature, autobiographies and oral testimonies, this research suggests that a multi-dimensional, comparative approach to explaining public health during the interwar years is most appropriate. Statistics can be interpreted to support either historical stance and a closer analysis reveals diverging health experiences according to a number of variables. By evaluating public health records and the popular perceptions of interwar Glaswegians, it is shown that Glasgow was an 'unhealthy city' as historians propose. However, this research argues that health experiences were complex, were characterise explained in terms of inequalities between and within individual groups of the population, rather than conclusive improvements or deteriorations in health.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available