Sensationalism and the construction of intellectual disability
in Intellectual disability
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The seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries saw the emergence of sensationalism as a counter to the prevailing idea that human knowledge was innate, pre-determined within us, only to emerge gradually over time. This chapter considers the influence of the theory of sensationalism on both the conceptualization of intellectual disability and the emergence of educational efforts on their behalf. It considers how the debate over sensationalism shaped Itard’s work and the theories which underpinned it, rooted most fully in the work of Locke, Rousseau, and, finally, Condillac, whose revision of Locke would create the foundation for the coming medico-psychological hegemony over intellectual disability.

Intellectual disability

A conceptual history 1200–1900




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