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Doubting SexInscriptions, Bodies and Selves in Nineteenth-century Hermaphrodite Case Histories$
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Geertje Mak

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780719086908

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: July 2012

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719086908.001.0001

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The Dislodgement of the Person

The Dislodgement of the Person

(p.136) 6 The Dislodgement of the Person
Doubting Sex

Geertje Mak

Manchester University Press

This chapter demonstrates how enactments of doubting sex and sexual function under bedside medicine differed from those under the new medical regime. A general overview of how and by whom hermaphroditism was disclosed illustrates a fundamental shift in medical practice which entailed a completely different enactment of hermaphroditism itself. It also describes the dislodgement of the person in clinical encounters. The issue of temporarily silencing the body through anaesthesia, surgery and dissection is then addressed. The new enactments of sex in cases of hermaphroditism caused a detachment from lay enactments of sex as the palpation of internal organs had little to do with the outward appearance of someone's sex. Physicians routinely gained access to their internal bodies through palpation, auscultation and the insertion of instruments and fingers into bodily openings, where anaesthetics proved to be of great help in overcoming the accompanying shame and pain.

Keywords:   hermaphroditism, doubting sex, sexual function, anaesthesia, surgery, dissection

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