Joanne Woiak
Search for other papers by Joanne Woiak in
Current site
Google Scholar
Drunkenness, degeneration and disability in England
in Disability and the Victorians
Abstract only
Log-in for full text

The debates surrounding what constitutes ‘disability’ and what are considered appropriate reactions to disabling conditions are highlighted in this examination of the historical background to psychiatric, eugenic and wider societal responses to inebriation. The author explains how alcohol addiction became seen as what she terms a ‘borderland’ disability, a condition that should be recognised as both a cause and a symptom of disability, rather than an illness or a life-style choice. Furthermore, inebriation needs to be evaluated through the longer-term consequences of constitutional weakness or feeble-mindedness that might be detected in the offspring of inebriants. Discourses and policies that connected the concepts of alcoholism and degeneration were prominent sites at which disability was constructed in the Victorian and Edwardian eras. The chapter emphasises the roles that gender and social class played in eliciting responses that demonstrated either compassion or prejudice towards the debilitating effects of alcohol addiction.

  • Collapse
  • Expand

Disability and the Victorians

Attitudes, interventions, legacies


All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 240 67 0
Full Text Views 9 7 1
PDF Downloads 13 11 2