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Patterns of Hospitality: Aspects of Institutionalisation in 15th and 16th Centuries Nuremberg Healthcare

Patterns of Hospitality: Aspects of Institutionalisation in 15th and 16th Centuries Nuremberg Healthcare

By Fritz Dross

Hygiea Internationalis, Vol.9:1 (2010)

Introduction: Beginning in the late 14th and accelerating in the mid-15th century, health care relief underwent far-reaching changes in German imperial cities. With regard to the organisational framework of relief they have been analysed and described as processes of institutionalisation, hospitalisation, specialisation, and communalisation. With respect to the healing personnel in charge of applying health care relief schemes initiated by the city councils and hospital administrations, this development has been characterised as professionalisation. Altogether, these transformations could be looked at as a premodern stage of “medicalisation”. But of course, one risks anachronism when applying this term to earlier developments.

This paper concentrates on institutional welfare provided by hospitals and aims to give a concise overview of the developments in the imperial city of Nuremberg in southern Germany. Information available on each individual institution is relatively poor and mostly extracted from the historical literature. The primary goal of this paper is thus not to enlarge our knowledge of particular Nuremberg relief institutions but to deepen our understanding of their interplay.

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