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The Human Body in the Age of CatastropheBrittleness, Integration, Science, and the Great War$
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Stefanos Geroulanos and Todd Meyers

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780226556451

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226556628.001.0001

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The Visible and the Invisible: The Rise and Operationalization of Case Studies, 1915−1919

The Visible and the Invisible: The Rise and Operationalization of Case Studies, 1915−1919

(p.78) 3 The Visible and the Invisible: The Rise and Operationalization of Case Studies, 1915−1919
The Human Body in the Age of Catastrophe

Stefanos Geroulanos

Todd Meyers

University of Chicago Press

This chapter analyzes the “case study” during and after WWI as a narrative, analytical, administrative, and hermeneutic device crucial to the narrativization of war neuroses, neurological damage, and physiological disorder. Case histories, already a psychiatric, criminological, and medical device, proliferated during the war. We offer a historically-informed theory of the case study and its uses, and we focus on studies reported by W.H.R. Rivers, Charles S. Myers, E.E. Southard, René Leriche, and Adhémar Gelb and Kurt Goldstein, because they adopted the case study method in different ways a tool for researchers to understand the effects of uncategorizable war wounds. Case studies thus aided in bureaucratic administration as much as individualized care. Thus, Myers tried to divide patients into straightforward categories despite the great complexity of their individual scenarios. Southard collected thousands of case studies on shock, drawing material from records in Germany, France, England, and the US to aid in the clustering of symptoms and an aggregative organization of disease. Gelb and Goldstein, for their part, began presenting case studies toward the end of the war, emphasizing the individuality of his patients and his focus on practices of interpreting “performances” and caring for “individuals” rather than wounds or types.

Keywords:   administration, categorization, case history, clinical care, Kurt Goldstein, Arthur Hurst, Charles S. Myers, René Leriche, W. H. R. Rivers, E. E. Southard, psychiatry, rehabilitation, shell shock

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