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I den goda vårdens namn: Sinnesslövård i 1950-talets Sverige
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Department of History.
2007 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
In the name of good care : Care of the feeble-minded in Sweden during the 1950s (English)
Abstract [en]

In 1952 the Swedish parliament commissioned a total evaluation of 13,000 institutionalized individuals designated in the terminology of the day as feeble-minded. The evaluation provides a unique opportunity to attain new knowledge about how the system of institutionalized care of the feeble-minded developed, functioned and was eventually transformed. The main objective of the evaluation, carried out between 1955 and 1959, was to determine if anyone was being held at an institution against their will. Another aim was to find out if inmates were placed in the right type of institution. The same physician examined all 13,000 inmates and the results were nothing less than sensational. Only 39 were considered not to be feeble-minded and only around 500 were considered to be in the wrong type of institution.

The institutional system of care for the feeble-minded developed from a few philanthropic institutions in the late 19th century into a complex system of public and private institutions that included various types of schools, work-houses, asylums and hospitals. In order for the system to work it was necessary to transfer inmates between the various institutions, that is, a differentiation process. As the system became more complex new categories of inmates were created and the institutions became more dependent on each other. For the inmates this must have been quite confusing since they were classified differently depending on where they were placed. Initially the dream was to create a rational, modern system of care. The evaluation was thought to be a rational response that would resolve shortcomings in the system, although in the end it revealed that the entire system was clearly irrational. The 1950s mark a turning point, not only in the care of the feeble-minded, but in all types of care, as new experts began questioning the usefulness of institutionalized care.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis , 2007. , 206 p.
Studia historica Upsaliensia, ISSN 0081-6531 ; 229
Keyword [en]
History, feeble-minded, mental deficiency, IQ-testing, differentiation, institutional care, modernity, rationality, pedagogy, psychology, experts, Sweden, 1950s, welfare state, social engineering, Slagsta, Hans Forssman, Torsten Thysell, mass media, National Medical Board, individualization
Keyword [sv]
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-7520ISBN: 978-91-554-6798-2OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-7520DiVA: diva2:169692
Public defence
2007-03-16, Sal IX, Universitetshuset, Uppsala, 13:15
Available from: 2007-02-23 Created: 2007-02-23 Last updated: 2014-10-02Bibliographically approved

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