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Vård för samhällets bästa: Debatten om tvångsvård i svensk lagstiftning 1850–1970
Uppsala University, Humanistisk-samhällsvetenskapliga vetenskapsområdet, Faculty of Arts, Department of History.
2001 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
Care for the Sake of Society : The Debate on Compulsory Care in Swedish Legislation, 1850–1970 (English)
Abstract [en]

How does a state justify forcing its citizens to receive health care? This study analyses how the use of coercive care was treated in Swedish legislation 1850–1970. By focusing on the compulsory care of those who did not break any laws, the arguments for and against state intervention are examined. Four key groups are investigated: those with epidemic diseases or venereal diseases, those suffering from mental illness and those addicted to alcohol or other drugs. Compulsory care is considered both as a part of a civilizing process and as a mechanism of control used to discipline the citizens.

The major arguments for compulsory care were the same for all four groups and with some variation remained alike throughout the entire period. Firstly, the problem needed to be defined as a medical one. In this process medicalization and the medical profession played an important role. Secondly, the individual targeted for compulsory care must be considered dangerous, i.e. representing a threat to his immediate surroundings and later also to himself. Thirdly, the individual’s threat to society as a whole was important. How this threat was interpreted varied between different groups and over time. The main change was a wider interpretation of what constituted a threat.

In general, the perception of who needed to be forced into care shifted from the working class poor to those who would not comply with the directives of the authorities, i.e. to those whose behaviour was considered anti-social. This coincided with the gradual realisation by those supporting compulsory care that not all problems could be solved through more and better treatment or information.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis , 2001. , 59 p.
Keyword [en]
History, compulsory care, epidemic diseases, venereal diseases, mental diseases, alcoholics, drug addicts, Foucault, state intervention, welfare state, medicalization, Sweden, social policy, anti-social behaviour
Keyword [sv]
National Category
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-1414ISBN: 91-7293-414-9OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-1414DiVA: diva2:160925
Public defence
2001-10-12, Universitetshusets sal X, Uppsala, 10:15
Available from: 2001-10-15 Created: 2001-10-15Bibliographically approved

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