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By C. Forth, A. Carden-Coyne

We are living in a global enthusiastic about abdomens. even if we name it the stomach, tummy, or belly, we take this sector of the physique with no consideration as an item of our gaze, the topic of our obsessions, and the site of deeply felt wishes. vitamin, foodstuff, and workout all play serious roles within the improvement of our physique pictures and therefore our experience of self, now not least simply because how we're made to think approximately our bodies (both our personal and people of others) is usually grounded in nutritional and way of life offerings. Cultures of the stomach lines the background of social, cultural, and clinical rules in regards to the belly and comparable organs because the 17th century, and demonstrates centred learn of the stomach is important for realizing the deep ancient meanings that underscore our modern obsessions with starvation, nutrition, fats, indigestion, and excretion. It locates that heritage from nutritional beliefs in early smooth Europe to the vexing factor of yankee fats within the twenty-first century, surveying alongside the way in which advancements in Britain, France, Germany, Italy, and Russia.

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14 It was this harmonious polity of organs and fluids that hypochondria threatened to subvert. Physicians defined the disease as a perversion of the animal economy, pitting the lower organs of the body against the higher ones, even turning the hierarchy upside-down, so that the base stomach dominated the noble brain. In Robert James’s (1703-1776) gruesome tableau from his mid-1740s Medicinal Dictionary: When thick and viscid Humours are, by the Spasms of the Lower Belly, copiously convey’d to the superior Parts and Head, where they circulate slowly in the Vessels of the Brain; the animal Functions are destroyed; the Senses languish; the Force of the Memory, and Brightness of the Genius, are impair’d .

Questions about the wider circulation and influence of these texts will have to await further research. Here I will limit myself to some final comments about the changing perception of hypochondria toward the end of the eighteenth century. At this point, physicians were forced increasingly to concede that consumer goods had penetrated into new, low-end markets. Such a popularization of old luxuries in turn undermined the definition of hypochondria as a genteel disease. Some medical writers sought to profit from the expanding demand, turning out catchpenny pamphlets and universal potions like Dr.

The maintenance of the dominant order depends upon the continual reiteration of the boundaries that divide and categorize the world and our experience of it. Symbolic pollution is actively threatening to the dominant order, because it breaks this reiterative chain. The incorporation of foreign material into the structure of the body paralleled the process of colonization and raised similar fears regarding potential changes to a symbolic whole that could be brought about by the introduction of foreign parts.

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