„Health Qualification“ for Military Service in Bulgaria, 1878–1939: Standards of Medical Fitness Cover Image
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„Здравният ценз“ за военна служба в България (1878–1939): критерии за психо-физическа годност
„Health Qualification“ for Military Service in Bulgaria, 1878–1939: Standards of Medical Fitness

Author(s): Gergana Mircheva
Subject(s): Social Sciences
Published by: Институт за изследвания на обществата и знанието при БАН
Keywords: medical fitness for military service; Bulgarian cultural history; medicalization; abnormality; stigmatization

Summary/Abstract: The article studies the military recruit accession standards in Bulgaria, as defined in a number of laws and statutory instructions to draft boards, from the end of 19th c. to the Second World War. The aim is to outline the strategies and mechanisms which conditioned the evaluation of medical (un)fitness for military service. Therefore, the composition of selective service bodies and the rules applying to the screening process of prospective servicemen are also examined. The analysis focuses on medical(ised) reasons for rejection of applicants, such as extreme ugliness or behavioral disorders, which motivated prophylaxis of disgusting deformity and disorder. The metamorphoses of the military „health qualification“ during the war’s period (1912–1918) are traced. The studied causes for disqualification of draftees are interpreted as hybridizations of scientific concepts of pathology and abnormality, everyday views of impairment and unwanted difference, and imperatives of military discipline and effectiveness. The methods of cultural history and discourse analysis are applied in order to reveal how concepts of public health and prevention of collective normalcy, as well as of the supremacy of the national body were (mis-) used in the changing biopolitical agenda of military service.

  • Issue Year: 46/2014
  • Issue No: 3-4
  • Page Range: 210-233
  • Page Count: 24
  • Language: Bulgarian