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Murders and MadnessMedicine, Law, and Society in the Fin de Siècle$
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Ruth Harris

Print publication date: 1991

Print ISBN-13: 9780198202592

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198202592.001.0001

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(p.321) 9 Conclusion
Murders and Madness

Ruth Harris

Oxford University Press

This book has delineated the way various forms of discourse about crime and madness overlapped with issues of class, gender, and politics in fin-de-siècle Paris. Central to this discussion were the opposing arguments of law and psychiatry. Psychiatry in the nineteenth century was often conceived of as a scientific, deterministic discipline that left little room for free will and moral responsibility. In contrast, the law was portrayed as a system which took free will as its essential axiom. This study has used its discussion about the relationship between crime and madness to show the disjunction between medical and legal self-characterizations on the one hand and the intricate reality of their approach to criminality on the other.

Keywords:   femininity, masculinity, crime, madness, Paris, penal law, criminology, psychiatry

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