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Author Dowbiggin, Ian Robert, 1952-
Title Inheriting madness : professionalization and psychiatric knowledge in nineteenth-century France / Ian R. Dowbiggin.
Imprint Berkeley : University of California Press, ©1991.

Author Dowbiggin, Ian Robert, 1952-
Series Medicine and society ; 4
Medicine and society ; 4.
Subject Société médico-psychologique.
Psychiatry -- France -- History -- 19th century.
Mental illness -- France -- History -- 19th century.
Mental Disorders -- history.
Psychiatry -- history.
Description 1 online resource (x, 217 pages).
Note "Began as a doctoral dissertation at the University of Rochester"--Page ix.
Bibliography Note Includes bibliographical references (pages 173-211) and index.
Note Print version record.
Contents Frontmatter -- Contents -- Acknowledgments -- Introduction -- Chapter One. The State of Psychiatric Practice and Knowledge in the Nineteenth Century -- Chapter Two. Francois Leuret and Medical Opposition to Moral Treatment, 1835-1850 -- Chapter Three. Jacques Moreau de Tours and the Crisis of Somaticism in French Psychiatry, 1840-1860 -- Chapter Four. Alienism and the Psychiatric Search for a Professional Identity: The Societe medicopsychologique, 1840-1870 -- Chapter Five. French Alienism and Antipsychiatry, 1860-1900 -- Chapter Six. Hereditarianism, the Clinic, and Psychiatric Practice in Nineteenth-Century France -- Chapter Seven. Science, Politics, and Psychiatric Hereditarianism in the Nineteenth Century -- Conclusion. The Social History of Psychiatric Knowledge -- Notes -- Index
Summary Historically, one of the recurring arguments in psychiatry has been that heredity is the root cause of mental illness. In Inheriting Madness, Ian Dowbiggin traces the rise in popularity of hereditarianism in France during the second half of the nineteenth century to illuminate the nature and evolution of psychiatry during this period.In Dowbiggin's mind, this fondness for hereditarianism stemmed from the need to reconcile two counteracting factors. On the one hand, psychiatrists were attempting to expand their power and privileges by excluding other groups from the treatment of the mentally ill. On the other hand, medicine's failure to effectively diagnose, cure, and understand the causes of madness made it extremely difficult for psychiatrists to justify such an expansion. These two factors, Dowbiggin argues, shaped the way psychiatrists thought about insanity, encouraging them to adopt hereditarian ideas, such as the degeneracy theory, to explain why psychiatry had failed to meet expectations. Hereditarian theories, in turn, provided evidence of the need for psychiatrists to assume more authority, resources, and cultural influence.Inheriting Madness is a forceful reminder that psychiatric notions are deeply rooted in the social, political, and cultural history of the profession itself. At a time when genetic interpretations of mental disease are again in vogue, Dowbiggin demonstrates that these views are far from unprecedented, and that in fact they share remarkable similarities with earlier theories. A familiarity with the history of the psychiatric profession compels the author to ask whether or not public faith in it is warranted.
ISBN 9780520909939 (electronic bk.)
0520909933 (electronic bk.)
OCLC # 44965634
Additional Format Print version: Dowbiggin, Ian Robert, 1952- Inheriting madness. Berkeley : University of California Press, ©1991 0520069374 (DLC) 90010914 (OCoLC)21372395

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