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The Borderland of Imbecility: Medicine, Society and the Fabrication of the Feeble Mind in Later Victorian and Edwardian England Hardcover – 28 Sep 2000

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press (28 Sept. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0719054567
  • ISBN-13: 978-0719054563
  • Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 3.2 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,007,438 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


Feeble-mindedness was a late-Victorian and Edwardian obsession. This is an examination of how and why certain children and adults were labelled as "feeble-minded" and segregated into special schools and colonies during this period. The book exploits a variety of archival sources and a range of contemporary medical, educational and parliamentary material. Arguing that compulsory segregation served a multitude of social, political and professional ends, successive chapters explore key themes: the birth of a concept of a "borderland of imbecility" in the late-19th century; the emergence of new institutional facilities at the turn of the century; the medicalisation of the feeble mind; the conflation of the feeble-minded with criminals, prostitutes and paupers; the educational and occupational strategies designed to reclaim the feeble-minded; and the statutory measures framed to regulate the borderland in 1913 and 1914.

About the Author

Mark Jackson is Senior Lecturer in the Center for Medical History at the University of Exeter.

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