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Aptitude militaire et sélection médicale des recrues. France-Angleterre (1900-1918)

Abstract : Exploring the Army’s physical and mental selection process, my study intends to compare the procedures followed in France and in the United Kingdom at a time when a massive part of the male population’s military fitness had to be assessed. In both countries access to the battlefield was conditioned to the favorable opinion of medical experts, as scientific examination resulted in the enrolment or exclusion of the would-be conscript from the military. According to a nomenclature of physical defects, disabilities and sicknesses, the medical examination supposedly circumscribed the weakest part of the population and prevented it to enlist. The process was intended to be scientific and as such a series of tests and statistical indexes were set to properly measure and evaluate suitability for military service. A long and high intensity conflict, the Great War, put this scientificity to the test. My PhD thesis aims to analyze the production of a scholarly discourse on military fitness, its sometime chaotic practical application in wartime as well as the public’s reaction to what was rapidly perceived as a careless application of scientific selection methods endangering the nation. Indeed, both in France and Britain, the irruption of a “scandal of the unfits” into the public sphere caused the outbreak of an important epistemological debate resulting in a political crisis. Measures were therefore taken to address the criticisms. My dissertation will show how states used medical legitimacy to ease public’s unrest and restore support of the population to the war effort. I intend to demonstrate that military fitness, far from being exclusively a medical concept, is a social and administrative construct mirroring its political context of production.
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Contributor : Aude-Marie Lalanne Berdouticq Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Friday, December 3, 2021 - 11:50:51 AM
Last modification on : Wednesday, December 8, 2021 - 3:37:16 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Friday, March 4, 2022 - 6:57:16 PM


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  • HAL Id : tel-03464513, version 1


Aude-Marie Lalanne Berdouticq. Aptitude militaire et sélection médicale des recrues. France-Angleterre (1900-1918). Histoire. Université Paris Nanterre, 2020. Français. ⟨tel-03464513⟩



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