Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Not TonightMigraine and the Politics of Gender and Health$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Joanna Kempner

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780226179018

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226179292.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 08 December 2021

All in Her Mind

All in Her Mind

(p.24) Chapter One All in Her Mind
Not Tonight

Joanna Kempner

University of Chicago Press

Migraine is a disorder that bridges the mind and body. In this chapter, I trace historical understandings of migraine from eighteenth-century theories of “sensibility,” to the nineteenth-century formulations as a disorder of upper-class intellectuals, to the influential concept of the “migraine personality” in mid-twentieth-century America, and finally to contemporary theories of “comorbidity.” This chapter pays close attention to how, at each historical turn, physicians have described the person with migraine has having a particular moral character and how this moral character has been encoded directly into medical knowledge. Medical knowledge has, thus, come to enact and reinforce cultural narratives about gender, class and pain. I argue that the credibility and the legitimacy of a disorder-and how much we, as a society, choose to invest in its treatment-is closely linked to how we perceive the moral character of the sufferer.

Keywords:   migraine, pain, moral character, gender, class, comorbidity, psychosomatic medicine, legitimacy, credibility, neurobiology

Chicago Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.