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The Psychiatric Persuasion:
Knowledge, Gender, and Power in Modern America
Elizabeth Lunbeck

Winner of the 1994 Morris D. Forkosch Prize for the Best Book in Intellectual History
Winner of the 1995 John Hope Franklin Publication Prize, American Studies Association
Winner of the 1995 History of Women in Science Prize, History of Science Society

Paperback | 1996 | $57.50 | £48.95 | ISBN: 9780691025841
445 pp. | 7 3/4 x 10 | 13 halftones, 3 figures, 4 tables
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In the years between 1900 and 1930, American psychiatrists transformed their profession from a marginal science focused primarily on the care of the mentally ill into a powerful discipline concerned with analyzing the common difficulties of everyday life. How did psychiatrists effect such a dramatic change in their profession's fortunes and aims? Here, Elizabeth Lunbeck examines how psychiatry grew to take the whole world of human endeavor as its object.


"Lunbeck has found a fascinating archive [at the Boston Psychopathic Hospital] and she has read it meticulously.... The story of the men and women who transformed psychiatry from a nineteenth-century hodgepodge of moralism, religion, and charlatanism to a twentieth-century human science ... is told here with more detail, more immediacy and more insight than ever before."--The New York Times Book Review

"Beautifully written, elegantly conceived.... A major contribution to the growing literature on the history of the professions. It will interest not only historians of science but also scholars in a variety of fields who are concerned with issues relating to gender, power, and the rise of sexual modernity."--The Journal of American History

"If you like stories, you will like this book, as I do. It's a good read. . . . for its rich depictions of the contradictory modernism of early twentieth-century psychiatry. It offers a feast of telling stories."--Susan Stanford Friedman, The Women's Review of Books

"[With] the tools of a historian and the skills of a talented writer, [Lunbeck] . . . uses a social context to examine how psychiatrists viewed society and how society shaped the development of psychiatric thought. . . . Her book will be of interest to students and professionals in the field of mental health, as well as to historians, sociologists, and general readers interested in the early 20th century in America. . . . highly readable, informative, and even picturesque in its evocations."--New England Journal of Medicine


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Table of Contents:

List of Illustrations
List of Tables
Introduction 3
1 Psychiatry between Old and New 11
2 Professing Gender 25
3 The Psychiatry of Everyday Life 46
4 Pathways to Psychiatric Scrutiny 81
5 Classification 114
6 Institutional Discipline 152
7 Woman as Hypersexual 185
8 Hysteria: The Revolt of the "Good Girl" 209
9 Modern Manhood, Dissolute and Respectable 229
10 The Sexual Politics of Marriage 256
11 Women Alone and Together 293
Conclusion 306
Appendix 311
Note on Sources 325
Notes 327
Index 419

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Hardcover published in 1994

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File created: 7/11/2017

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