- The Oxford Handbook of the History of Eugenics
- Introduction: Eugenics and the Modern World
- The Darwinian Context: Evolution and Inheritance
- Anthropology, Colonialism, and Eugenics
- Race, Science, and Eugenics in the Twentieth Century
- Eugenics and the Science of Genetics
- Fertility Control: Eugenics, Neo-Malthusianism, and Feminism
- Disability, Psychiatry, and Eugenics
- Eugenics and the State: Policy-Making in Comparative Perspective
- Internationalism, Cosmopolitanism, and Eugenics
- Gender and Sexuality: A Global Tour and Compass
- Eugenics and genocide
- Eugenics in Britain: The View from the Metropole
- South Asia's Eugenic Past
- Eugenics in Australia and New Zealand: Laboratories of Racial Science
- Eugenics in China and Hong Kong: Nationalism and Colonialism, 1890s–1940s
- South Africa: Paradoxes in the Place of Race
- Eugenics in Colonial Kenya
- Eugenics in Postcolonial Southeast Asia
- German Eugenics and the Wider World: Beyond the Racial State
- Eugenics in France and the Colonies
- Eugenics in the Netherlands and the Dutch East Indies
- The Scandinavian States: Reformed Eugenics Applied
- The First-Wave Eugenic Revolution in Southern Europe: Science <i>sans frontières</i>
- Eugenics in Eastern Europe, 1870s–1945
- Eugenics in Russia and the Soviet Union
- Eugenics in Japan: Sanguinous Repair
- Eugenics in Interwar Iran
- Eugenics and the Jews
- Eugenics Policy and Practice in Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Mexico
- The Path of Eugenics in Brazil: Dilemmas of Miscegenation
- Eugenics in the United States
- Eugenics in Canada: A Checkered History, 1850s–1990s
- Epilogue: where did eugenics go?
Abstract and Keywords
This article reviews assumptions about psychiatry and mental disability, explaining why the mentally disabled, more than the mentally ill or the physically disabled, became the focus of eugenic anxiety as well as policy. It also examines why such policies were taken further in some countries than others, and whether the focus on mental disability applies equally to eugenics within a colonial setting. It argues that the primacy of the mentally disabled does not necessarily equate with the primacy of psychiatry: the development of eugenic policies toward the mentally disabled in this period is more crucially a consequence of political and economic context than of the influence of psychiatry itself. Finally, it concludes with an exploration of the history of disability, psychiatry, and eugenics since World War II.
Mathew Thomson is Reader in the Department of History at the University of Warwick and is currently Director of Warwick's Centre for the History of Medicine. He is author of The Problem of Mental Deficiency: Eugenics, Democracy and Social Policy in Britain, 1870–1959 (1998) and Psychological Subjects: Identity, Health and Culture in Twentieth-Century Britain (2006). He is currently researching the history of childhood in postwar Britain.
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