Histories of the Normal and the Abnormal: Social and Cultural Histories of Norms and Normativity

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This fascinating volume tackles the history of the terms 'normal' and 'abnormal'. Originally meaning 'as occurring in nature', normality has taken on significant cultural gravitas and this book recognizes and explores that fact.

The essays engage with the concepts of the normal and the abnormal from the perspectives of a variety of academic disciplines – ranging from art history to social history of medicine, literature, and science studies to sociology and cultural anthropology. The contributors use as their conceptual anchors the works of moral and political philosophers such as Canguilhem, Foucault and Hacking, as well as the ideas put forward by sociologists including Durkheim and Illich.

With contributions from a range of scholars across differing disciplines, this book will have a broad appeal to students in many areas of history.

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Table of Contents

The Normal and the Abnormal Historical and Conceptual Perspectives on Norms and Normativity Waltraud Ernst Invisible Friends: Questioning the Representation of the Court Dwarf in Hapsburg Spain Janet Ravenscroft From ‘Monstrous’ to ‘Abnormal’: The Case of Conjoined Twins in the Nineteenth Century Sarah Mitchell Eccentric Lives: Character, Characters and Curiosities in Britain, c. 1760-1900 James Gregory Constructing the Common Type: Physiognomic Norms and the Notion of ‘Civic Usefulness’, from Lavater to Galton Lucy Hartley Norms of Beauty and Ugliness in French Culture Nicola Cotton Made to Measure? Tailoring and the ‘Normal’ Body in Nineteenth-Century France Alison Matthews David ‘A Masculine Mythology Suppressing and Distorting all the Facts’: British Women Contesting the Concept of the Male-as-Norm, 1870-1930 Lesley A. Hall Interpreting Abnormal Psychology in the Late Nineteenth Century: William James’s Spiritual Crisis Francis Neary Can Kinship be Designed and still be Normal? The Curious Case of Child Adoption Ellen Herman Flexible Norms? The Case of Diabetes Mellitus Christiane Sinding A Matter of Degree: The Normalisation of Hypertension, circa 1940—2000 Carsten Timmermann Deviant Roles, Normal Lives: Why Every Piazza needs its Own ‘Madman’ Sara Bergstresser

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