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The Problem of Mental DeficiencyEugenics, Democracy, and Social Policy in Britain,
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Mathew Thomson

Print publication date: 1998

Print ISBN-13: 9780198206927

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198206927.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
The Problem of Mental Deficiency

Mathew Thomson

Oxford University Press

This introductory chapter discusses the coverage of this book, which is about the development and implementation of policies to address the problem of feeble-mindedness and mental deficiency in Great Britain from 1870 to 1959. This book explains the eugenic threat posed by the feeble-minded and examines how this fear interacted with anxieties about regulating the boundaries of responsible citizenship and managing an increasingly sophisticated network of welfare institutions. It also analyses various legislative and policy proposed to address the issue, including the Mental Deficiency Act of 1913.

Keywords:   welfare insistutions, mental deficiency, Great Britain, eugenics, Mental Deficiency Act, responsible citizenship

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