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The Slumbering MassesSleep, Medicine, and Modern American Life$
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Matthew J. Wolf-Meyer

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780816674749

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816674749.001.0001

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From the Lone Sleeper to the Slumbering Masses

From the Lone Sleeper to the Slumbering Masses

(p.1) Introduction From the Lone Sleeper to the Slumbering Masses
The Slumbering Masses

Matthew J. Wolf-Meyer

University of Minnesota Press

Dominant conceptions of sleep have changed over time, and so have American understandings of the normal, the ideal, the disorderly, and pathological. These changes are the result of scientific, medical, and popular forces: the identification of circadian rhythms that govern feelings of alertness and sleepiness, the nosological definition of various pathological forms of sleep, and commercial and media representations of sleep have all collaborated in altering how sleep is conceived. These are all changes that have occurred since the 1880s and been dependent upon social formations and cultural expectations from early colonial America through the Industrial Revolution. How Americans sleep now is tied to these historical forces and human physiology.

Keywords:   Medical anthropology, science and technology studies, cultural studies, American studies, Medicalization, Biopolitics, Desire, Affect, disability studies

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