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História, Ciências, Saúde-Manguinhos

Print version ISSN 0104-5970On-line version ISSN 1678-4758


ENGEL, Magali Gouveia. The frontiers of ‘abnormality’: psychiatry and social control. Hist. cienc. saude-Manguinhos [online]. 1999, vol.5, n.3, pp.547-563. ISSN 0104-5970.

The article examines some of the main aspects governing psychiatry’s role in the Brazilian political and social context at the close of the nineteenth century and beginning of the twentieth. It analyzes certain themes -civilization, race, labor, fanaticisim, political dissent, sexuality - that were emphasized by specialists in their construction of a very broad notion of ‘mental illness’. Through the analysis of texts produced by psychiatrists and legal experts (including dissertations written at the Faculdade de Medicina do Rio de Janeiro, reports from the Serviço de Assistência a Alienados, and works and articles by specialists), the relation between the psychiatric definition of the frontiers of ‘abnormality’ and efforts to implement new strategies of social control is discussed.

Keywords : psychiatry; mental illness; social contro.

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