Sea hospitals

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Bruno Vanobbergen, Between Fear and Welfare: The sea hospital as a site of childhood stories (notes from a paper presentation at ISCHE 30)

  • Sea Hospitals: built near the coast to withdraw children from their unhealthy environment in order to place them in a purging climate
- a part of the hygiene movement
- the increasingly central role of the pedagogical in society
- linked to processes of medicalization in the case of Sea Hospitals
- “the growing dominace of the bourgeouis childhood script” quoting Hans Jenz (sp?)
  • Both private and state projects; France had state versions, Rockefeller built Seabreeze at Coney Island 1904
  • Belgian Sea Hospital: Mittelkerke
The removal of the child offered the opportunity not only to heal their physical illness/medical condition, but, being removed from their family life, to make them better and moral citizens (which, allegedly, otherwise wouldn’t happen given the baneful realities of the city and modern life). The lack of children’s presence in promotional postcards reveals their invisibility; this made the children into objects of medical practice rather than subjects – "literally left them out of the picture". No schooling in the Belgian sea hospitals for director's fear of losing scientific objectivity
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