Clinical Psychiatry in Imperial Germany: A History of Psychiatric Practice

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Cornell University Press, Jul 5, 2018 - History - 320 pages

The psychiatric profession in Germany changed radically from the mid-nineteenth century to the beginning of World War I. In a book that demonstrates his extensive archival knowledge and an impressive command of the primary literature, Eric J. Engstrom investigates the history of university psychiatric clinics in Imperial Germany from 1867 to 1914, emphasizing the clinical practices and professional debates surrounding the development of these institutions and their impact on the course of German psychiatry.

The rise of university psychiatric clinics reflects, Engstrom tells us, a shift not only in asylum culture, but also in the ways in which social, political, and economic issues deeply influenced the practice of psychiatry. Equally convincing is Engstrom's argument that psychiatrists were responding to and working to shape the rapidly changing perceptions of madness in Imperial Germany.

In a series of case studies, the book focuses on a number of important clinical spaces such as the laboratory, the ward, the lecture hall, and the polyclinic. Engstrom argues that within these spaces clinics developed their own disciplinary economies and that their emergence was inseparably intertwined with jurisdictional contests between competing scientific, administrative, didactic, and sociopolitical agendas.


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Chapter 1 Introduction
Chapter 2 The Topography of MidNineteenthCentury Psychiatry
The Politics of the Urban Asylum
Psychiatric Research in the 1870s and 1880s
Clinical Research in Heidelberg
Chapter 6 Clinical Teaching
Psychiatric Polyclinics
Clinical Psychiatry and the Politics of Professional Practice

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About the author (2018)

Eric J. Engstrom is Research Associate at the Center for Human and Health Sciences at the Humboldt University in Berlin. He has published several books, including Knowledge and Power: Perspectives in the History of Psychiatry and Psychiatry in the 19th Century (Psychiatrie im 19. Jahrhundert). He is also editor of a multivolume edition of the writings of the German psychiatrist Emil Kraepelin.

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