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Rhetoric, enterprise and professional authority: physicians and writing in twentieth-century France

Rhetoric, enterprise and professional authority: physicians and writing in twentieth-century France
Rhetoric, enterprise and professional authority: physicians and writing in twentieth-century France
The article examines the career of the little studied James-Edward Ruffier, a physician who won commercial success as well as political and popular renown as a physical culturist and natural health practitioner in France in the first half of the twentieth century. In particular, it focuses on the importance of writing for Ruffier’s business model. Writing across a range of genres, largely in self-published periodical titles, became a way to turn subscribers into clients. But in more diffuse ways it was also a bid to achieve broader social influence. The article identifies the rhetorical and performative strategies at the heart of this process, strategies that show that Ruffier was bringing to bear far more than his technical medical knowledge in the attempt to persuade the general public of the merits of his approach to life. It also seeks to situate Ruffier’s relationship to writing within the broader history of the ‘physician-writer’ in Third Republican France (1870-1940). Ruffier was one of many such figures, whose career trajectories have much to tell us about more general themes, including the medicalization of body culture in this period and the processes by which doctors acquired the kind of cultural authority that made them trusted voices on a range of issues within and beyond medicine.

0018-2648
Tumblety, Joan
8742e0ca-a9c0-4d16-832f-b3ef643efd7b
Tumblety, Joan
8742e0ca-a9c0-4d16-832f-b3ef643efd7b

Tumblety, Joan (2018) Rhetoric, enterprise and professional authority: physicians and writing in twentieth-century France. History. (In Press)

Record type: Article

Abstract

The article examines the career of the little studied James-Edward Ruffier, a physician who won commercial success as well as political and popular renown as a physical culturist and natural health practitioner in France in the first half of the twentieth century. In particular, it focuses on the importance of writing for Ruffier’s business model. Writing across a range of genres, largely in self-published periodical titles, became a way to turn subscribers into clients. But in more diffuse ways it was also a bid to achieve broader social influence. The article identifies the rhetorical and performative strategies at the heart of this process, strategies that show that Ruffier was bringing to bear far more than his technical medical knowledge in the attempt to persuade the general public of the merits of his approach to life. It also seeks to situate Ruffier’s relationship to writing within the broader history of the ‘physician-writer’ in Third Republican France (1870-1940). Ruffier was one of many such figures, whose career trajectories have much to tell us about more general themes, including the medicalization of body culture in this period and the processes by which doctors acquired the kind of cultural authority that made them trusted voices on a range of issues within and beyond medicine.

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More information

Submitted date: 2018
Accepted/In Press date: 10 June 2018
Organisations: History

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 411203
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/411203
ISSN: 0018-2648
PURE UUID: 08c2e282-2494-4b19-9d5b-ac490cf4cf7e

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Date deposited: 15 Jun 2017 16:31
Last modified: 20 Jun 2018 16:30

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Contributors

Author: Joan Tumblety

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