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Mad-doctors and Magistrates: English psychiatry's struggle for professional autonomy in the nineteenth century

  • Andrew T. Scull

Extract

ThisPaper is the second of two essays devoted to a sociological examination of the emergence and attempted professionalization of psychiatry in Victorian England. The late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries witnessed the rapid growth of an institutional response to madness: first in the form of private, profit-making madhouses, and then, via direct state investment in the asylum solution, in the form of a rapidly proliferating network of county asylums coping with the ‘pauper insane’. The development and consolidation of these institutional means of coping with madness parallels that of a group of ‘experts’ in the management of the mad. For it was the existence of institutions which permitted, or perhaps it might be more accurate to say, formed the breeding ground, for this emerging coterie of specialists. During the nineteenth century, at least, ‘psychiatry’ is to all intents and purposes coextensive with ‘institutional psychiatry’.

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