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Dangerous Liaisons

A Social History of Venereal Disease in Twentieth-Century Scotland

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This book explores the role of Venereal Disease in shaping perceptions of sexuality in twentieth-century Scotland, and in defining the response of the Modern State to patterns of sexual behaviour. It examines how civic, medical and political authorities reacted to the ‘Hideous Scourge' in times of peace and war and how far policy was informed by anxieties surrounding social change and public morality as much as by the incidence of disease and developments in medical knowledge. It focuses in particular on the moral assumptions underpinning epidemiological debate, and the various dimensions of stigmatisation and control within VD discourse, including gender, generation and class. This study also highlights the protracted campaign in Scotland for legal controls over those suffering from VD, and the enduring problem, resurrected by the threat of HIV and AIDS, of balancing the demands of public health against those of civil liberties in the regulation of ‘dangerous sexualities'.

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