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"L’infortune la plus grave qui puisse frapper un citoyen" : une histoire sociale des aliénés (France, seconde moitié du XIXe siècle)

Abstract : The history of the rise of the asylum in France after the law of 1838 on the insane and of the failure of its therapeutic ambition is well-known. But the history of the insane themselves is yet to be written. This thesis proposes a social history of madness from the 1850s to the 1900s based on the study of trajectories of the mentally ill. To this end, it uses archives from four public lunatic asylums located in Brittany and the Paris area. It also exploits a set of hitherto unexploited sources from penal and civil courts and after-care associations for convalescent lunatics, thus allowing the extension of the study beyond the asylum walls. In doing so, the thesis highlights the ways in which madness was managed outside the institutional sphere, but also the ways through which families and other actors appropriated asylum internment as a means of social regulation. It shows how trajectories and experiences of mental illness were shaped by factors of gender, age, and class. Finally, this thesis proposes a history of alienated subjectivities by paying attention to the various forms of accommodation or resistance that the mentally ill opposed to their subordination. As an inverted figure of the citizen, the lunatic holds a mirror up to French society and its transformations.
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Submitted on : Friday, February 25, 2022 - 10:38:08 AM
Last modification on : Tuesday, March 1, 2022 - 11:28:05 AM

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Anatole Le Bras. "L’infortune la plus grave qui puisse frapper un citoyen" : une histoire sociale des aliénés (France, seconde moitié du XIXe siècle). Histoire. Institut d'études politiques de Paris - Sciences Po, 2021. Français. ⟨NNT : 2021IEPP0028⟩. ⟨tel-03588751⟩

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