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Durkheim and French Psychiatric Views on Suicide During the 19th Century: A Conceptual History

  • G. E. Berrios (a1) and M. Mohanna (a2)

Extract

One of the targets of Durkheim's criticism, in his masterly book Le Suicide (1897), is the view upheld (according to him) by all 19th-century French alienists that suicide was, in all cases, a form of madness (henceforth, the ‘absolutist’ or ‘psychiatric’ hypothesis). Durkheim's view is important, particularly among sociologists, and lest they, and other readers, are led uncritically to accept his version of 19th-century French psychiatric views on suicide, it would seem important to put the historical record straight. The relevant literature is vast, and only representative writers are included in this paper. It is not the purpose of this paper to deal, in any way, with Durkheim's sociological views. (This is being done by Mohanna & Berrios (1990)).

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Department of Psychiatry, University of Cambridge, Addenbrooke's Hospital (Level 4), Hills Road, Cambridge CB2 2QQ

References

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Durkheim and French Psychiatric Views on Suicide During the 19th Century: A Conceptual History

  • G. E. Berrios (a1) and M. Mohanna (a2)

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