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/ Department of History

Rechercher

Expert in: Philanthropy

BAILLARGEON, Denyse

Professeure émérite

My current research focuses on the Sainte-Justine Hospital's fundraising campaigns from the late 1920s to the present, and on how commercial advertising for over-the-counter drugs contributed to the medicalization of Quebec society between 1920 and 1970.

The first project looks both at the message developed by the hospital (and its advertising agencies) to convince the public to dig into their pockets and donate to the hospital, and the physical organization of these fundraising campaigns, to see how it evolved over the years, when and to what extent it became more professional, and the role played by volunteers (most often women) and "experts" (most often men). This research is based on two key concepts: the concept of a mixed social economy, meaning the combination of private and public funding of healthcare and welfare institutions, and that of moral regulation, meaning actions by government or groups from civil society seeking to shape new subjectivities as a way of encouraging new behaviours.

In my second project I intend to study the advertising campaigns for certain over-the-counter drugs so as to analyze how their messages concerning bodies and health and the way they represented them evolved. My initial hypothesis is that the medicalization of society is attributable not only to the doctors and the state that were in the forefront of public health campaigns, but also to the drug companies that capitalized on people's concerns about their health and well-being in marketing their products, thereby reinforcing new norms in these areas. More generally, my research seeks to highlight the connections between health concerns and the rise of consumerism, two major 20th-century cultural phenomena.

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