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Dyslexia pp 76-104 | Cite as

Reading Difficulties Become a Medical Concern

  • Tom Campbell

Abstract

Having difficulty with reading, or being unable to read, has not always been a medical problem. In the late nineteenth century, physicians such as Broadbent (1872) and Hinshelwood (1895) became interested in identifying particular bodies with reading difficulties. These physicians were able to establish a particular population of persons understood as having reading difficulties. This chapter is focused around the question of ‘how’ reading difficulties were invented as a concern for medical researchers. I describe how this interest began to solidify into a diagnostic category, leading them to write reports in some of the most well-known and respected medical journals in Britain (Hinshelwood, 1895; Kussmaul, 1877). In response to this problem I will consider how the diagnosis of acquired word-blindness, a technology of power, was crafted, paying particular attention to why a difficulty with reading, in its acquired form, became a medical concern during the late nineteenth century. It will be argued that this diagnostic category provided the clinical precedents and many of the techniques that allowed for congenital word-blindness to become a viable diagnosis. I will describe how acquired word-blindness was used as a point of departure for the crafting of congenital word-blindness.

Keywords

Intellectual Attribute Diagnostic Category Visual Memory Reading Difficulty Medical Concern 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    See my discussion in Chapters 3 and 4.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Tom Campbell 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tom Campbell
    • 1
  1. 1.University of LeedsUK

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