Socialist utopia in practice: everyday life and medical authority in a Hungarian polio hospital
Social History of Medicine
Oxford University Press (OUP) for Society for the Social History of Medicine
© The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for the Social History of Medicine. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Based on oral history interviews, medical literature, hospital newsletters, memoirs and news media, this article explores the ways in which ideals of socialism interacted with medical practice in polio care in 1950s Hungary. Through the everyday life of polio hospitals, it argues that the specific care that polio demanded from hospital staff, parents and children, resonated with state socialist political discourses of gender equality and the breakdown of class barriers and conventional hierarchies in medicine. Providing opportunities, as much as failing to fulfil expectations of patients, parents and medical staff, polio care simultaneously created socialist utopias and demonstrated the limits of political ideals.
This work was supported by the Wellcome Trust.
This is the final version of the article. Available from Oxford University Press via the DOI in this record.
Published online 14 September 2017