URV researchers participate in a book on the history of hospitals in Barcelona

This Wednesday the book was presented in Barcelona Barcelona Hospitalària. The city and its hospitals, XIV-XX centuries. This is a project devised by the Museum of the History of Medicine of Catalonia (MHMC) that has had the support of the Faculty of Nursing and the Advanced Nursing research group of the Rovira i Virgili University, in which there is a line of research on the history of Catalan hospitals. It is an investigation led and sponsored by the Barcelona History Museum (MUHBA), which delimits the object of study to the history of hospitals and care in the city of Barcelona.

Nearly fifty academics from history have contributed to this work with reflections on the transformations in care and hospital matters in the city of Barcelona. “Madness in Barcelona (1592-1854): from the guardianship of the insane to their medicalization” is one of the chapters of the book written by Josep Maria Comelles, professor emeritus in the Department of Anthropology, Philosophy and Social Work at the URV, and Francesc Valls Fonayet and Josep Barceló-Prats, reading professors from the Nursing Department of the University.

The book not only presents the history of Barcelona’s hospitals, but also addresses understanding from different areas of study such as the public service regime, ethics, medicine, non-medical care, spirituality or the groups served. With this work we want to give visibility to another way of understanding and living the city, valuing the plurality of actors and the richness of spaces.

From left to right, the URV professor, Josep Barceló, during the presentation of the work, together with Alfons Zarzoso and Joan Roca, associate professors of the University, who have participated in the book.

The researcher Josep Barceló-Prats highlights that the research has been carried out from a long-term perspective. “The public institution of assistance in the urban space has been and continues to be a key piece in the social reproduction of the same ideas of community and city”, he explains.

Joan Arrizabalaga and Alfons Zarzoso, associate professors of the URV’s university master’s degree in Medical Anthropology and Global Health, have also participated in the work as authors of the chapters “Surgical clinics and the construction of the hospital patient in Barcelona in 1990” and “Assistance Hospitality, Poverty, Medicine and Common Good during the Old Regime”, respectively.

The publication of this book is the culmination of the project, which began with the organization of two days of debate and reflection on January 17 and 18, 2019 on the medieval and modern periods. In a second conference, held on December 12 and 13, 2019, they focused on the contemporary period. Both meetings highlighted the need to bring together new research on the history of hospitals in Barcelona.

The work is published in the Pòsits collection of the MUHBA and wants to be the starting point of a temporary exhibition on the hospital history of Barcelona.

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URV researchers participate in a book on the history of hospitals in Barcelona