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Murders and Madness – Medicine, Law, and Society in the Fin de Siècle - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Murders and Madness: Medicine, Law, and Society in the Fin de Siècle

Ruth Harris


This book examines the French debate over crime and madness in the fin de siècle. The author argues that psychiatric theories of human behaviour and new sociological interpretations of crime combined to undermine the traditional foundations of the penal system and helped to shape the new science of criminology. Traditional notions of free will and moral responsibility were eroded as new and often draconian strategies evolved from managerial practices developed mainly by medical men. The book offers a detailed examination of the radical politique criminelle they devised. Through a series of cas ... More

Keywords: crime, madness, human behaviour, penal system, criminology, free will, moral responsibility, managerial practices, politique criminelle, feminine hysteria

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 1991 Print ISBN-13: 9780198202592
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198202592.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Ruth Harris, author
New College, Oxford