Screening the National Health Service: Approaching a Cultural History through Moving Pictures

Jane Hand
(University of Warwick)

This paper examines the use of moving images as a fruitful source for considering the cultural history of the NHS. It focuses on the film programme of the National Health Campaign of 1948 to argue that these promotional films constructed particular understandings of postwar modernity that coded the individual health service user as the ‘modern’ British citizen. There has been little historical examination of the National Health Service from the perspective of citizenship or indeed how the NHS changed or altered what it meant to be British in postwar Britain. This paper will therefore contend that the film programme and the visual content of these individual films represents one revealing way to consider how the British citizen was being defined in terms of health during this period.

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Wednesday, 18th November 2015, 12.45 pm – 2.00 pm
Venue: Jerry Morris B, Tavistock Place