gpg hssThe European Journal for Nursing History and Ethics is an interdisciplinary Open Access and peer-­reviewed eJournal spanning the Humanities, Nursing Science, Social Sciences, and Cultural Studies. The journal is published online once a year with each edition having an individual theme. In addition, all volumes provide an open section that contains articles on various topics.

The Journal is seeking contributions to the open section and themed section.

Theme 2019: “Bads” in nursing: Negative experience as an impetus to reform in nineteenth and twentieth centuries

The theme for 2019 has been agreed in Cooperation with the Swiss Society of the History of Health and Nursing (GPG-­HSS) and the European Association for the History of Nursing (EAHN)

Deadline for abstracts: November 30th, 2017

Cultural expectations of ‘good care’ change according to context. They vary according to time and place. They are constantly shaped and reshaped by knowledge and techniques of health professions; by bodily and emotional needs and sensations; by symbols and rituals of attention and of sympathy; by religious ideas; and by views of justice, of caring human relations and of the person’s dignity. Individual experiences sometimes harmonise with expectations so that patients, and their nurses all feel satisfied. But sometimes things can and do go wrong. Bad things can happen – and these can be compounded by the failure of systems to intervene, to ‘turn things around’. Those involved can be left with negative experiences and may suffer consequences. According to the Dutch Philosopher Annemarie Mol such experiences are termed ambiguously as “bads” in care: “There is something else that bothers me. It is that somehow writing about the goods of care is just too nice. Too cosy. There are also bads to address, but how to do so?”1

The second issue of the European Journal for Nursing History and Ethics will provide an opportunity for scholars from a range of disciplines to debate historical and ethical research relating to this subject. It will consider both individual and collective experiences of nursing; explanations for bad care; and descriptions of ways in which individuals and groups have attempted to find impetus for reform. The history of Europe and its colonies in the 19th and 20th centuries contain many examples of so-called “bads” in healthcare. During this time science based medical knowledge and techniques gained a powerful position within the logics of care and within the systems and practices of health professions. “Good” nursing was redefined. And yet, the materiality, symbolisms and rituals of care continued to be understood in terms of the Judao-­Christian religious context, coupled with bourgeois ideas of social justice, moral behaviour and human dignity. Through decades, different cultures of care responded to what they considered “bad” in attention, protection or kindness. During the “Age of Extremes” (1914-­1991) – to use the term coined by Eric Hobsbawm – totalitarian ideologies and race biology, dictatorial regimes, authoritarian societies and economies at war put pressure on the multifaceted cultures of care. From the 1960s onwards, organisations of victims and of patients, social and feminist movements as well as critical scholars launched historical studies and social inquiries to disclose neglect, failures of care, mistreatments and abuse in medical, psychiatric and foster care institutions in past and present. These processes are still ongoing and they contribute to reforms in healthcare, to acts of apology, to compensation and to commemorative cultures.

The aim of the Second Issue of the European Journal for Nursing History and Ethics is to enlarge our understanding of how nurses were interlinked with “bads” in healthcare, of how they addressed and responded to negative experiences and how they contributed to the reform of healthcare in the 19th and 20th centuries.

The European Journal for Nursing History and Ethics calls for contributions from scholars who can present research relating to negative experiences of and with nurses. Their starting point should be the individual or the collective experience of nurses and/or of patients and family members with bad care. They should find answers to these questions: What shaped experience of “bads” as the actors addressed them? Whom did they make responsible for their negative experiences? How did they explain them? What did they claim? How did the actors involved deal with the negative experiences? How did those made responsible for “bads” respond to reestablish their standards of good healthcare, reputation and trustworthiness? How did this process contribute to reforms in healthcare?

The CfA for the special theme of the European Journal for Nursing History and Ethics is related to the International Conference „’Bads’ in healthcare: Negative experience as an impetus to reform in nine-­teenth and twentieth centuries“, 21/22.6.2018 in Winterthur, Switzerland, see further information : https://gpg­‐­conference‐2018/

Please note the following remarks on the concept of the European Journal for Nursing History and Ethics:

The journal creates a dialogue between the history and the ethics of nursing while providing new impulses for advancing the subfields of the history as well as the ethics of nursing. Historians are asked to include the ethical dimension of the topic into their research project; researchers interested in ethics are requested to reflect on the historical dimensions of their projects. This does not mean, however, that articles on ethics should be preceded by a historical overview in the style of a manual. Rather the latest developments and socio-­‐political debates that have led to the current issues in the ethics of nursing should be put in their historical context and be used in the analysis. Likewise papers on the history of nursing should address ethical questions within the historical context or refer to current issues in the ethics of nursing. The journal publishes research both on European History and the history of the reciprocal relationships and entanglements of European and non-­European societies.

The journal only publishes original contributions. The authors agree when submitting their script that their text has not already been submitted or published elsewhere.

Please submit your abstract (max 500 words) in English and separately a short CV until November 30th, 2017 to:

Prof. Dr. Susanne Kreutzer:
PD Dr. Karen Nolte:



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