New Articles first online – Social History of Medicine

4-coverSocial History of Medicine has prepublished online two articles that may interest the readers of h-madness.

Katariina Parhi and Petteri Pietikainen “Socialising the Anti-Social: Psychopathy, Psychiatry and Social Engineering in Finland, 1945–1968.” The abstract reads as follows:

This article argues that in Finland during the two decades after the Second World War, the diagnosis of psychopathy represented a failed attempt to adjust ‘difficult’ individuals to the social order. Discussing the social and medical character of the diagnosis, we examine psychopathy using the analytic and historical framework of social engineering in post-war Finland. We utilise patient records, official documents and psychiatric publications and analyse the diagnostic uses of psychopathy and its associations with social maladjustment. We also address the question of how mental health care in the less-developed northern part of Finland grappled with behavioural deviance, and especially with behaviour deemed ‘anti-social’. Contextualising psychopathy as a marker of individual disorganisation within the development of social organisation, this article contributes to historical scholarship that maps mental disorders onto the historical development of the nation.

Steven J. Taylor: “‘She was frightened while pregnant by a monkey at the zoo’: Constructing the Mentally-imperfect Child in Nineteenth-century England.” The abstract reads as follows:

Classifications and concepts of insanity during the nineteenth century were constructed by numerous professional, quasi-professional and lay observers. Consequently, ideas of mental ill health and its causes were varied. This article explores how ‘insanity’ in children was observed, explained and evolved following 1845. It focuses on medico-cultural exchanges between families and doctors to plot shifts in how child mental health was understood. Numerous causes of insanity were given at admission including terrifying dogs, out of control lunatics and even visits to the zoo shocking expectant mothers so severely that they produced mentally-imperfect children. Such narratives were superseded by a dialogue that still included the family and their ideas, but also served the professional and intellectual agenda of medical men in consolidating their expertise over the insane. The article examines varied ideas of insanity, highlights the importance of the family in influencing medical understanding and introduces the experience of asylums for children.

Found thanks to Advances in the History of Psychology.

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