Posts Tagged ‘ 20th century ’

Dissertations – Hans Asperger and the Ward for Therapeutic Pedagogy of the Viennese University’s Children’s Clinic

Ina Friedmann: Hans Asperger and the Ward for Therapeutic Pedagogy (Heilpädagogische Abteilung) of the Viennese University’s Children’s Clinic. Concepts and continuities in the institutional treatment of children categorized as ‘maladjusted’ between 1911 and 1977.


Patients at the Ward for Therapeutic Pedagogy, 1920s (Josephinum, Sammlungen und Geschichte der Medizin, MedUni Wien, Sign. MUW-FO-S-004464-0082)

The Ward for Therapeutic Pedagogy of the Viennese University’s Children’s Clinic was a central institution from its opening in 1911 onwards concerning diagnosis and treatment of children and youth, who were labeled ‘difficult’, ‘maladjusted’ or to be in ‘need of education’. Science and institutional care were converging and interacting with socially widespread opinions. The Ward was founded under participation of pediatrician Erwin Lazar (1877-1932), who headed it until his death. He was succeeded by Valerie Bruck (1894-1963), who had been working at the Ward since 1923 and then led it until 1935. In this year, Hans Asperger (1906-1980), best known for describing the Asperger Syndrome, replaced her and stayed in this position until 1957, when Paul Kuszen (*1920) took over until 1985. It was especially Asperger who influenced not only the treatment of so-called ‘difficult’ children by decades of work in therapeutic pedagogy, but also had an impact on how those children and youth were perceived in the public as well as social and medical institutions. Already shortly after the opening of the Ward a close cooperation with the Youth Welfare Office, Juvenile Court, schools, children’s and correctional education homes and similar institutions was established, but also parents soon made use of the possibility of having children examined there.

The reasons for acceptance to the Ward were manifold and besides school and educational problems of any kind also included petty crimes, enuresis, masturbation, (sexual) violence, ‘vagrancy’ and ‘neglect’, but also epilepsy, speech disorders or the clarification of fits. The personnel of the Ward consisted of doctors, nurses, but also pedagogues and, from the 1920s onwards also of a psychologist. This correlated with Lazar’s conception of therapeutic pedagogy, who postulated the equal concurrence of pediatrics, pedagogy, psychology and psychiatry with the task to liberate children of their alleged ‘behavioral problems’ by the means of individually applied pedagogical-therapeutic methods.

This thesis focuses on the concepts which were used in the diagnosis, or rather judgment, therapy and further treatment of the patients. It tries to establish which scientific opinions on ‘social abnormity’ were dominating in the research period of 1911 to 1977, and if and how they changed. Therefore, the medical records of the Ward of the first half of the 20th century are the foundation of the thesis, allowing insight into the institutional treatment of children who were judged as ‘abnormal’ and ‘deviant’. Thus, it is also possible to contribute to the history of ‘institutionalized childhood’ in Austria.

Ina Friedmann is writing her thesis at the University of Vienna and is currently working at the University of Innsbruck.


New Book: Greg Eghigian, The Corrigible and the Incorrigible: Science, Medicine, and the Convict in 20th Century Germany


Greg Eghigian – Associate Professor of Modern History at Penn State University and co-editor of h-madness – has just published a new book with University of Michigan Press that explores the application of psychiatry, psychology, and psychotherapy in the correctional rehabilitation of prisoners in Germany.

The Corrigible and the Incorrigible explores the surprising history of efforts aimed at rehabilitating convicts in 20th-century Germany, efforts founded not out of an unbridled optimism about the capacity of people to change, but arising from a chronic anxiety about the potential threats posed by others. Since the 1970s, criminal justice systems on both sides of the Atlantic have increasingly emphasized security, surveillance, and atonement, an approach that contrasts with earlier efforts aimed at scientifically understanding, therapeutically correcting, and socially reintegrating convicts. And while a distinction is often drawn between American and European ways of punishment, the contrast reinforces the longstanding impression that modern punishment has played out as a choice between punitive retribution and correctional rehabilitation. Focusing on developments in Nazi, East, and West Germany, The Corrigible and the Incorrigible shows that rehabilitation was considered an extension of, rather than a counterweight to, the hardline emphasis on punishment and security by providing the means to divide those incarcerated into those capable of reform and the irredeemable.

Le branle-bas général à Saint-Jean-de-Dieu : Expérience de la désinstitutionnalisation, 1930-1976

Expérience de la désinstitutionnalisation à Saint-Jean-de-Dieu

Le branle-bas général à Saint-Jean-de-Dieu: Expérience de la désinstitutionnalisation, 1930-1976

Conférence de Marie-Claude Thifault

Le mercredi 03 juin 2015 – 19 h à 20 h 30

Institut Universitaire en Santé Mentale de Montréal

Conférence grand public

«Ouvrir les portes de l’hôpital, débarrer les portes de l’hôpital», selon le psychiatre Denis Lazure, n’était pas une façon d’imager sa pensée, mais bien un geste concret nourri par le vent de changements qu’insufflait la révolution psychiatrique des années 1960. Certes, la Commission d’études des hôpitaux psychiatriques et les conclusions de son rapport (Bédard, 1962) permettaient de croire à un vaste projet de désinstitutionnalisation psychiatrique au Québec. Nous jugeons qu’il est à propos de déplacer le point de vue sur la question de cette grande réforme pour s’intéresser à celui du patient lui-même. Cela afin de nous demander quelles sont ses propres inquiétudes quant à l’avenir suite au processus institutionnel de mise en liberté définitive? Ce questionnement propose une réévaluation des résultats peu concluants qu’a connus la première vague de désinstitutionnalisation psychiatrique au Québec, cette fois-ci, attachée à relater et prendre en compte l’expérience des patients.

Cette présentation sera tirée du livre Désinstitutionnalisation psychiatrique en Acadie, en Ontario français et au Québec (PUQ, 2014)


Marie-Claude Thifault, professeure agrégée
Titulaire, Chaire de recherche sur la francophonie canadienne en santé
Directrice, Unité de recherche sur l’histoire du nursing, Faculté des sciences de la santé, Université d’Ottawa, Canada

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The Controversial Diagnosis of “Excited Delirium”

9780849316111Journalist Justin Jouvenal has written an article for The Washington Post examining the debate swirling around a syndrome dubbed “excited delirium.” Proponents have applied the term to what is believed to be a syndrome affecting certain individuals “Influenced by mental illness or the use of such stimulants as cocaine and methamphetamine” who, when in “its grip often have extraordinary strength, are imperviousness (sic) to pain and act wildly or violently. Then, suddenly, some die.” Critics, however, have noted the popularity of the diagnosis in cases involving suspected excessive force by police in the United States, concerned that it is providing cover for abusive policing practices.

According to Jouvenal’s sources, the concept dates back to the mid-19th century, but started to gain currency more recently in the mid-1980s. Medical examiners in Miami at the time began applying the term in the midst of the cocaine epidemic spreading across Florida.

Dissertations – The Ottoman State and the insane, 1856–1908

Mental Patients inside Toptaşı Mental Asylum. (From the private collection of Cengiz Kahraman)

Mental Patients inside Toptaşı Mental Asylum. (From the private collection of Cengiz Kahraman)

Cihangir Gündoğdu: “Are there no asylums?”
 : the Ottoman State and the insane, 1856–1908

The present study seeks to contribute to and expand our knowledge concerning the nature and scope of the Tanzimat reforms by bringing to our scholarly attention a relatively understudied matter, the mental asylum reform that took place between 1856 and 1908. This study begins with Luigi Mongeri’s appointment to the Süleymaniye Mental Asylum in 1856 and ends with the 1908 revolution, which inaugurated a period when the mental asylum would undergo a new reformist trend at the hands of Unionist elite. Although the objects of asylum reform were, obviously, the “insane”, this work does not primarily focus on their stories. It rather explores the professional, legal, political, and economic processes that accompanied the mental asylum reform in the second half of the nineteenth century in the Ottoman Empire. It is accordingly organized around certain themes and problematics, such as the definition and quantification of madness, its regulation, the proposals and initiatives to institutionalize the treatment of the insane, and the financing of such initiatives.

Cihangir Gündoğdu did his Ph.D. at the University of Chicago’s Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations Department. He defended his dissertation on 4 September 2014 and currently teaches history classes at the Istanbul Bilgi University in Turkey.

Chronique de la psychiatrie ordinaire

L’historien français Hervé Guillemain vient de publier un ouvrage où il décrit “la psychiatrie ordinaire” aux XIXe et XXe siècles à travers les institutions psychiatriques de la Sarthe. Sur la quatrième de couverture, on peut lire:

Quel est l’ordinaire de la psychiatrie de province, de ses soignants et de ses patients depuis plus de deux siècles ? De l’asile du Mans – l’un des premiers créés en France -1828) – à la constitution des secteurs dans les années 1970, ce livre reconstitue à partir d’archives et de témoignages l’histoire de la psychiatrie en Sarthe, sa singularité, bien sûr, mais aussi ce qu’elle dit de l’institution. A travers une quinzaine de chapitres illustrés, nourris par le récit d’itinéraires individuels de patients et de soignants et par la description vivante des lieux, des moments et des pratiques qui font la psychiatrie s’écrit ainsi une histoire à plusieurs voix.

Pour plus d’information, veuillez cliquez ici.

La revue Pratiques sur l’enfermement

The French journal Pratiques publishes an extensive analysis of the confinement’s strategies in psychiatry and prisons. Articles have been written among others by the sociologist Loïc Wacquant and the philosopher Alain Brossat.

The website of the journal is here.

The summary of this edition is here.

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