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Journal of Human Growth and Development

Print version ISSN 0104-1282On-line version ISSN 2175-3598


ZUCOLOTO, Patrícia Carla Silva do Vale. The higienist doctor in the school: historical origins of the medicalization of school failure. Rev. bras. crescimento desenvolv. hum. [online]. 2007, vol.17, n.1, pp. 136-145. ISSN 0104-1282.

The present research study aimed to investigate the historical origin of explanations for school difficulties of children of low socioeconomic status, specially the version that givesa pathologic meaning to the phenomenon, through the analysis of the medical discourse about the definitions of public hygiene and school hygiene and of the doctor's role in the school. The actual research investigated the medical discourse about the school in five Inaugural Theses of the School of Medicine of Bahia under the theme 'Hygiene of schools'. The theses were from the historical period comprehended between 1869 and 1898, which corresponds to Brazil’s transition from an Empire to a Republic. A contextual analysis of the results was carried out by means of their insertion into the historical period in which they were produced. The analysis investigated the theoretical and practical bases of these thoughts. The analysis of discourse content was performed using Bardin (1977)'s method of content analysis. It could be verified that the historical origin of the medical concept of school problems faced by children of low socioeconomic status is in the defense of the importance of the medical presence in the school and in the prejudiced view of the Brazilian people that was adopted by the medical staff at that period. It was concluded from the five theses that ideas that will gain strength later in the history of Brazilian education, as the "medicalization" of school difficulties, are already there. This is the case of medical inspection in school, constituting a medical discourse about education that will be deepened and implemented by means of theories and actions throughout the 20th century.

Keywords : School health; School hygiene; School psychology; School difficulties; History of psychology; Medicalization.

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