Food, Medicine and Institutional Life in the British Isles, c.1790-1900

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This essay explores two discrete, but inter-related, dimensions of modern food history: the medicalization of diet from the late-eighteenth century onwards and the development of new strategies of large-scale institutional feeding. From the late-eighteenth century, medical scientists began to analyse and comprehend food in new ways. Contemporaneously, state bodies in many western countries began using institutions to tackle problems such as insanity and crime. Food played a powerful role in structuring institutional experiences as this essay demonstrates by exploring historical case studies in the British Isles. This essay presents institutions as spaces where medico-scientific knowledge of food was produced, applied, tested and debated, particularly in the nineteenth century.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRoutledge History of Food
ISBN (Print)978-0415628471
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Oct 2014


  • history of asylum diet
  • history of prison diet
  • history of food in Ireland
  • history of food in Britain


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