Who are You? Identification in the British Empire

In the last decades, a growing body of literature organized around the works of Jane Caplan, Edward Higgs, and John Torpey has opened up the historical inquiry of state identification procedures [1]. In tracing the emergence of a “politics of registration”, as Szreter and Breckenridge defined it, scholars have considered a variety of practices for… Continue reading Who are You? Identification in the British Empire

Le Régime des Aliénés: Lunacy Legislation in Belgium (1850-1885)

The enactment of the 1838 French law set an important precedent for the creation of a national framework dealing with lunacy. European countries with a continental law tradition such as Belgium, Spain, and Italy gradually adopted mental health provisions inspired by the Loi Esquirol. In the case of Belgium, the "Loi du 18 Juin 1850" represented the first… Continue reading Le Régime des Aliénés: Lunacy Legislation in Belgium (1850-1885)

Safe and Sound: Medical Legislation in Nineteenth-Century England

During the nineteenth century much of the Western world witnessed a period of social, political, and technological change that significantly altered the organization of society. A growing complexity in the machine of public administration propelled a new image of the state as a legal apparatus composed by people, for the benefit of the people. No… Continue reading Safe and Sound: Medical Legislation in Nineteenth-Century England

Hospitalidad a los Dementes: Early Lunacy Legislation in Spain (1885)

The enactment of the 1838 French law set an important precedent for the creation of a national framework dealing with lunacy. European countries with a continental law tradition such as Belgium, Spain, and Italy gradually adopted mental health provisions inspired by the Loi Esquirol. In the case of Spain, the 1885 Reales Decretos represented the earliest attempts to… Continue reading Hospitalidad a los Dementes: Early Lunacy Legislation in Spain (1885)

Custodia e Cura degli Alienati: The Italian Legislation on Lunacy (1904-1909)

Italy was one of the latest countries in the Western world to pass a national legislation on mental health. Most regions of the Mediterranean peninsula became a unified Kingdom in 1861 with the exception of the Vatican State which reluctantly ceded its territories a decade later. By that time, all major cities had erected public… Continue reading Custodia e Cura degli Alienati: The Italian Legislation on Lunacy (1904-1909)