In current mental health care psychiatric conditions are defined as compilations of symptoms. These symptom-based disease categories have been severely criticised as contingent and boundless, facilitating the rise to epidemic proportions of such conditions as depression. In this article we look beyond symptoms and stress the role of epidemiology in explaining the current situation. By analysing the parallel development of cardiovascular disease and depression management in Finland, we argue, firstly, that current mental health care shares with the medicine of chronic somatic conditions an attachment to risk factor epidemiology, which accentuates risk and prevention in disease management. However, secondly, due to the symptom-based definitions of psychiatric conditions, depression management cannot differentiate properly between symptoms, signs and risk factors such as, for example, cardiovascular medicine, but treats symptoms as signs or risk factors in contexts of treatment and prevention. Consequently, minor at-risk conditions have become difficult to separate from proper cases of depression.
Examining the surviving costumes of the 1913 production of The Rite of Spring, this article explores how costumes functioned in the Russian ‘new ballet’ choreography, of which the Ballets Russes Company is the most internationally famous example. The materiality of costumes ‐ the fabric, cut and dye ‐ organized the dancing bodies onstage in a manner that, in part, relied on Russian contexts invisible to the predominantly foreign audiences of the performances in Paris and London. Subsequently, these Russian reactions where The Rite of Spring was part of a continuum of representations of Russia’s past have been largely ignored in favour of the opinions of French and British critics, for whom the work appeared extraordinary and alien. The so-called reconstruction (1987), where the surviving costumes were used to compensate for the absence of choreographic understanding, has further obscured what the choreography was and what costumes actually did (and do) in performance. Although decisions made in recreating performance differ from historiographical research, exploring the practical making of costumes also draws attention to perspectives often forgotten in discussions of past performance more generally ‐ such as changes in how costumes are experienced, or what that experience explains of later reminiscences.
ABSTRACTA new, extensive examination of figures with horns and triangular shaped heads in prehistoric rock paintings in Finland reveals remarkable parallels with similar attributes on the Radien and Akka groups of spirits, pictured as male and female powers of the sky, earth and underworld, painted on the heads of indigenous Sámi noaidi drums from Swedish and Norwegian Sápmi during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. What makes this particular study of interest is that the cultural context or origins of rock paintings in Finland remains ambiguous. They are contextualised as being ‘Finnish’ according to academic literature. This paper explores these theories further and presents the findings of this investigation. In light of these findings, a re-examination and re-interpretation of the cultural context of rock paintings in Finland concerning Sámi pre-Christian religion and cultural heritage is prompted.
This satirical poem from the theatrical paper Rampa i zhizn characterises the Russian attitude towards the Ballets Russes. The second to last line, “Сколько стоило все это”, could also be translated as “How much did all this cost?”, a jibe at how Diaghilev spent extravagant sums to persuade Paris of Nijinsky’s stardom. Quite a few Russian reviews shared this tone — Russian theatrical papers in particular published scathing pieces of criticism of Diaghilev’s enterprise, the works performed, the star dancers and their reception. Diaghilev was a favourite for cartoonists’ wishing to scold the Ballets Russes for having forfeited tradition to popular success, artistry to circus entertainment, and decency to Western European decadence. Yet underneath the mockery lay both genuine pride at the success of the Russian dancers and a fear for the empire’s image in the West.
Finland has lived a centuries long history under the rule of Sweden. In 1809 the country was transferred from the rule of Sweden to become a grand duchy of Russian empire. In 1917 Finland became an independent nation between the west and the east. Although Finland is currently strongly devoted to the west, this has not always been the case, and the country has to take into account carefully its historical, cultural, geopolitical and economic roots as well as the long Eastern border of 1340 kilometers with Russia.
This article examines the mutual shaping of medicine and private life insurance in Finland before the Second World War. Based on historical texts and archival material, it shows the important effects that the involvement of medicine in client selection for life insurance companies had on medical knowledge and practice. The analysis focuses on the tensions between the main actors in life insurance underwriting – candidates, insurance agents, examining physicians and the central office – as well as the medical examination as the key site of these tensions. The article shows how the introduction of a set of procedural and technical innovations reshaped the medical examination and helped to stabilize the fraught network of life insurance underwriting. These innovations re-scripted medical work. They stressed objective measurable knowledge over the personal skill and clinical acumen of the examining physician, propagated the physical examination and the use of diagnostic technologies and vital standards, multiplied medicine’s administrative tasks, and contributed to the introduction of a risk factor approach to medicine. Moreover, the social organization of life insurance promoted the spread of these objects, practices and tasks to other fields of medicine. The case displays how medical innovations are developed through the situated interplay of multiple actors that cuts across the science–society boundary.
Rocks. Geological forces across time and space. Non‐human beings. Humans. Affect material encounters with rocks. Connecting. Being. Writing… From the Artic to Eastern Finland. From Sydney to Kangaroo Island, Australia. From the north to the south, and back again. Corporeal, affective. These rocks live with and through us. Touching rocks—rocks touch us. Bodies—rocks, co‐constituted in life. Disrupting. Non‐violent. Ethico‐political acts of writing. Writing rocks. Humans become geologic forces. Care. Response‐able.
We have narrated how Homo sapiens has step by step discovered the vastness of the universe by inventing methods to measure distances and properties of celestial bodies. Along with deep space, we have deep time. The huge distances revealed are hard to imagine. Similarly painful for common sense are the huge lengths of time that one has to accept in order to understand the origin of the Earth (and our galaxy, of course). Anything much shorter than a tenth of a second is difficult to comprehend and anything much longer than the age of our grandparents goes easily beyond our normal thinking. We have to use various indirect methods to get to grips with very long times, millions or billions of years.
The discussion on mental illness in Renaissance medical treatises followed ancient and medieval guidelines. Galen’s works were edited and studied together with the major Arab and Latin commentaries. Much attention was paid to the typical symptoms of melancholy: the impairment of the rational faculty and the experience of groundless fear and sorrow. The cause of melancholy was the excess of black bile which affected the brain and the spirits. There was an increasing interest in the various forms of melancholy, and non-medical writers also treated melancholy as a source of mental suffering. In some treatises melancholy was regarded as an epidemic nuisance. The melancholic-type person was dealt with in physiognomic typologies of temperaments which were associated with four bodily humours (phlegm, bile, blood and black bile). Many authors drew on the remark in Pseudo-Aristotle’s Problems 30 according to which a moderate amount of black bile might make people exceptionally talented. This speculation was supported by Marsilio Ficino’s treatise on the melancholic condition, which he said was marked by symptoms from depression and hallucinations to exceptional creativity. While most medical authors avoided religious speculations, the rise of occultism and witchcraft persecution in later sixteenth century supported demonological explanations of melancholy. Academic authors often applied the medieval medical idea according to which it was probable that, medically speaking, the experiences of ‘demonic possessions’ were caused by melancholy, but they usually did not exclude the possibility that the devil might cause madness by disordering the humours and vital spirits. In the seventeenth century, scepticism about this emerged among learned people (1). For madness in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century literature, see Midelfort 1999, Gowland 2006a.