Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Social Welfare and Public Health in Mediterranean Europe 1700-1900

LEVEL 03 - Years 2, 3, 4 in Modular Undergraduate Course



DESCRIPTION This study-unit offers an introduction to the history of social welfare and public health in Southern Europe before the emergence of the modern welfare state, with a marked reference to the debates raised in the historiography of the subject. At the centre of our concern are the various groups of the poor and their strategies to obtain relief, social assistance and medical treatment from a variety of social bodies and institutions; the informal nets (e.g. household/neighbourhood reciprocal assistance); intermediate organisations (confraternities, mutual aid societies) the formal state institutions and poor relief (civic charitable institutions; hospitals; prisons and relief services).

The key topic discussed in this course include:
Historiography of Public Health, Medicine and Welfare;
Approaches, methods and documentary sources;
Vulnerability and marginality of the poor:
Children of the poor; the orphans, the elderly, the diseased and the mentally ill.

The Providers:
The role of the household, friends and neighbourhood as social welfare net
Community-based organisations and Church charities
Formal state institutions and relief agencies
Developing Public Health infrastructures
The ‘Foucaultian Turn’ (assistance or control of the Poor?)
The elites and the urban poor: linking poverty, disease and disorder.

The most vulnerable and their views:
Daily self-help practices of the poor
Combining daily strategies of survival
‘Old, Dear institutions’: the Monte di Pieta`, the Ospizio and other charity establishments
Shared views of the poor on State and Church charity

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to have the necessary knowledge to understand the mix of welfare provisions which the poor in Southern European societies employed for their survival.

2. Skills:
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- critically evaluate and analyze social problems and employ empathy;
- be able to challenge streamline presumptions on the poor; the vulnerable and the sick in history.

Reading List:

Suggested Readings:
Ole Peter Grell (ed.), Health Care and Poor Relief in Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century Southern Europe (2005)
Abreu L. (ed.), European Health and Social Welfare Policies (2005)
Barry J. & Jones C. (eds.), Medicine and Charity Before the Welfare State (1991)
Cosmacini G., Storia della Medicina e della Sanita’ in Italia (2005)
Cosmacini G., Le Spade di Damocle. Paure e malatie nella storia (2006)
Chircop J., “Crises and the social desire for history’ in Malta University Report 2003 (2004)
Green D.R. & Owen A., Family Welfare. Gender, Property and Inheritance since the Seventeenth century (2004)
Jones C., & Porter R. (eds.), Reassessing Foucault: Power, Medicine and the Body (1990)
Porter D. (ed.), The History of Public Health and the Modern State (1994)
Thane P., The Foundations of the Welfare State (1996)

STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lecture and Seminar

Assessment Component/s Resit Availability Weighting
Seminar Paper Yes 30%
Examination (2 Hours) Yes 70%

LECTURER/S John Chircop

The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2020/1. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.