Skip to main content
×
Home
    • Aa
    • Aa

Meanings of Waves: Electroencephalography and Society in Mexico City, 1940–1950

  • Nuria Valverde Pérez (a1)
Argument
Argument

This paper focuses on the uses of electroencephalograms (EEGs) in Mexico during their introductory decade from 1940 to 1950. Following Borck (2006), I argue that EEGs adapted to fit local circumstances and that this adjustment led to the consolidation of different ways of making science and the emergence of new objects of study and social types. I also maintain that the way EEGs were introduced into the institutional networks of Mexico entangled them in discussions about the objective and juridical definitions of social groups, thereby preempting concerns about their technical and epistemic limitations. This ultimately enabled the use of EEGs as normative machines and dispositifs. To this end, the paper follows the arrival of EEGs and the creation of institutional networks then analyzes the extent to which the styles of thinking behind the uses of EEGs and attempts to reify a notion of normal electrical brain behavior—particularly by applying EEGs to a community of Otomí Indians—correlated with the difficulties of defining the socio-anthropological notions that articulated legal and disciplinary projects of the time. Finally, it unveils the shortcomings of alternative attempts to define a brain model and to resist the production of ontological determinations.

Copyright
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

Cornelius Borck . 2005a. “Writing Brains: Tracing the Psyche with the Graphical Method.” History of Psychology 8 (1):7994.

Cornelius Borck . 2006. “Between Local Cultures and National Styles: Units of Analyis in the History of Electroencephalography.” Comptes Rendus Biologies 329 (5–6):450–59.

Mary A. B. Brazier , and Jacob E. Finesinger . 1944. “Characteristics of the Normal Electroencephalogram. I. A Study of the Occipital Cortical Potential in 500 Normal Adults.” Journal of Clinical Investigation 23 (3):303311.

Thomas F. Collura 1993. “History and Evolution of Electroencephalographic Instruments and Techniques.” Journal of Clinical Neurophysiology 10 (4):476504.

Pauline A. Davis 1940. “Development of Electroencephalography: Retrospect and Outlook.” American Journal of Orthopsychiatry 10 (4):710718.

George D. Dawson , and William Grey Walter . 1944. “The Scope and Limitations of Visual and Automatic Analysis of the Electroencephalogram.” Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry 7 (3–4):119133.

George L. Engel , John Romano , Eugene B. Ferris (Jr.), Joseph P. Webb , Charles D. Stevens . 1944. “A Simple Method of Determining Frequency Spectrums in the Electroencephalogram: Observations on Effects of Physiologic Variations in Dextrose, Oxygen, Posture and Acid-Base Balance on the Normal Electroencephalogram.” Archives of Neurology & Psychiatry 51 (2):134146.

Frederic A. Gibbs , Basu Kumar Bagchi , and Wilfred Bloomberg . 1945. “Electroencephalographic Study of Criminals.” American Journal of Psychiatry 102 (3):294298.

Frederic A. Gibbs , Emma L. Gibbs , and Williams G. Lennox . [1937]2002. “Epilepsy: A Paroxysmal Cerebral Dysrhythmia (Reprinted from Brain 1937).Epilepsy & Behavior 3 (4):395401.

Frederick A. Gibbs , Hallowell Davis , and William G. Lennox . 1935. “The Electro-Encephalogram in Epilepsy and in Conditions of Impaired Consciousness.” Archives of Neurology & Psychiatry 34 (6):11331148.

Michael Hagner . 2001. “Cultivating the Cortex in German Neuroanatomy.” Science in Context 14 (4):541563.

Rhodri Hayward . 2001. “The Tortoise and the Love-Machine: Grey Walter and the Politics of Electroencephalography.” Science in Context 14 (4):615641.

Bernard L. Pacella , and S. Eugene Barrera . 1941. “Electroencephalography: Its Applications in Neurology and Psychiatry.” Psychiatric Quarterly 15 (3):407–37.

Andrés Ríos Molina . 2013. “Dictating the Suitable Way of Life: Mental Hygiene for Children and Workers in Socialist Mexico, 1934-1940.” Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences 49 (2):142166.

Roger Smith . 2001. “Representations of the Mind. C. S. Sherrington and Scientific Opinion, c. 1930-1950.” Science in Context 14 (4):511539.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Science in Context
  • ISSN: 0269-8897
  • EISSN: 1474-0664
  • URL: /core/journals/science-in-context
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 3
Total number of PDF views: 28 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 219 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 12th January 2017 - 20th July 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.