A Prostitution of the Profession”? Forcible Feeding, Suffrage and Medical Ethics, 1909-14’

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Abstract

Historians have tended to highlight the compliance of the British medical profession with state policies of forcible feeding during the suffragette hunger strike campaigns. This article reconsiders medical opposition to forcible feeding by investigating the significance of the medico-ethical questions raised by critics. I argue that whilst leading medical institutions and figures might well have turned a blind eye to the potential physical and psychological consequences of forcible feeding, it is important to assess the nature of medical opposition where it did exist, and to investigate the complex medico-ethical dilemmas spawned by hunger strike management. In particular, I explore the complex role of the prison doctor within feeding procedures with an emphasis on notions of medical duty and the extension of state influence in prison medicine.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)225-245
JournalSocial History of Medicine
Volume26:2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2014

Keywords

  • suffragette force feeding
  • history of force feeding
  • medical ethics
  • guantanamo force feeding

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