We are living in a stressful world, yet despite our familiarity with the tion, stress remains an elusive concept. In The Age of Stress, Mark Jackson explores the history of scientific studies of stress in the modern world. In particular, he reveals how the science that legitimates and fuels current anxieties about stress has been shaped by a wide range of socio-political and cultural, as well as biological, factors: stress, he argues, is both a condition and a metaphor. In order to understand the ubiquity and impact of stress in our own times, or to explain how stress has commandeered such a central place in the modern imagination, Jackson suggests that we need to comprehend t only the evolution of the medical science and techlogy that has gradually uncovered the biological pathways between stress and disease in recent decades, but also the shifting social, ecomic, and cultural contexts that have invested that scientific kwledge with meaning and authority. In particular, he argues, we need to ackwledge the manner in which enduring concerns about the effects of stress on mental and physical health are the product of broader historical preoccupations with the preservation of personal and political, as well as physiological, stability.
Mark Jackson is Director of the Centre for Medical History at the University of Exeter. He has served as Chair of the Wellcome Trust History of Medicine Funding Committee, Chair of the Wellcome Trust Research Resources Funding Committee, and Senior Academic Adviser (Medical Humanities) to the Wellcome Trust. He was a member of the History Panel for REF 2014 and has taught modules in the history of medicine and science for thirty years. His books include New-born Child Murder (1996), The Borderland of Imbecility (2000), Allergy: The History of a Modern Malady (2006), Health and the Modern Home (ed., 2007), Asthma: The Biography (2009), The Oxford Handbook of the History of Medicine (ed., 2011), The History of Medicine: A Beginner's Guide (2014), and The Routledge History of Disease (ed., 2016). He is currently writing a book on the history of the midlife crisis.