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Degeneration and “Socially Dangerous” in Late Imperial Russia Psychiatry


  • Mikhail Pogorelov

    () (National Research University Higher School of Economics)


The article examines the role of degeneration theory in Russian medical and public discourses at the turn of the 20th century. Drawing on a wide range of historiography and primary sources, including archival records and medical writings, the article aims to outline different contexts of the concept’s usages: from rhetorical idioms to “scientific”, clinical and instrumental applications. Then, it seeks how psychiatrists defined the category of “socially dangerous” and tried to modify the existed institutional and legal framework. This focus could explain degeneration theory influence on social policy and the late imperial institutional system.

Suggested Citation

  • Mikhail Pogorelov, 2016. "Degeneration and “Socially Dangerous” in Late Imperial Russia Psychiatry," HSE Working papers WP BRP 139/HUM/2016, National Research University Higher School of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hig:wpaper:139/hum/2016

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    deviant; socially dangerous; psychiatry; degeneration theory; Russia;

    JEL classification:

    • Z - Other Special Topics

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