This collection explores how concepts of intellectual or learning disability evolved from a range of influences, gradually developing from earlier and decidedly distinct concepts, including ‘idiocy’ and ‘folly’, which were themselves generated by very specific social and intellectual environments. With essays extending across legal, educational, literary, religious, philosophical, and psychiatric histories, this collection maintains a rigorous distinction between historical and contemporary concepts in demonstrating how intellectual disability and related notions were products of the prevailing social, cultural, and intellectual environments in which they took form, and themselves performed important functions within these environments. Focusing on British and European material from the middle ages to the late nineteenth century, this collection asks ‘How and why did these concepts form?’ ‘How did they connect with one another?’ and ‘What historical circumstances contributed to building these connections?’ While the emphasis is on conceptual history or a history of ideas, these essays also address the consequences of these defining forces for the people who found themselves enclosed by the shifting definitional field.
something more analytically abstract and longitudinal than a nuanced analysis
of specific arguments made by a few contemporaneous authors in the distant
past. In assembling a number of discursive episodes in this study, I have made
an attempt to combine contextualist analysis with a diachronic perspective on
conceptual usage and change. Certainly, this combination could not have been
achieved at no cost to both components. Nevertheless, it demonstrates that contextualism and conceptualhistory can effectively address questions pertaining to
IR and international
European and African narrative writing of the interwar period
from Africa are not the first place, then, where one would start
researching the history of development. Suppose that we put on a
particular set of glasses and look at colonial fiction with a
conceptualhistory of development in mind. What would we see? Can we
read its traces in and through the imagination and narratives that
both shaped and reflected the colonial encounter of Africans and
This chapter evaluates the potential future of United Nations (UN) democracy based on its conceptual history. It discusses how the three vehicles of definition—ideology, practice and vision—created very different realities for UN democracy. They all form essential parts in understanding what UN democracy is and how it has become institutionalised. This chapter shows how ideas and practice are intimately connected in the agenda-setting process at the UN and highlights the role of organisational actors in conceptualising ideas and creating practice. It also discusses how the vision of developmental democracy has highlighted the fact that democracy today is in a somewhat ambiguous place as it appeared to have a reached a conceptual endpoint towards the middle of the democratic continuum.
. Consequently, today democracy describes as much a state as a society (Conze 1972; Hanson 1989; Oppenheim 1971; Williams 1983).
While conceptualhistories offer us an insight into different conceptualisations of democracy, their account remains focussed on general trends and broad brush definitions. They do not unpack the range of views and approaches contained within them. Thus, we apply ‘democracy’ in the workplace, in many places where groups come together and, of course, in states; and while we are sure what kind of ideals we want to promote in
The emergent critical history of intellectual disability
Patrick McDonagh, C.F. Goodey, and Tim Stainton
trajectory of other, more mainstream narratives – philosophical, theological,
and educational, rather than purely medical or scientific. It is in this burgeoning context that the history of the idea of intellectual disability and related
notions, while still sparsely represented in the catalogues, is making its presence and importance felt.
Patrick McDonagh, C. F. Goodey, and Tim Stainton
Why we need a conceptualhistory of intellectual disability
In the gradual emergence of this critical history, and particularly one that
targets conceptual foundations
legitimacy, both domestically and internationally, for the agreed upon policies. The debate opened in this way may eventually
transcend the opposition of realism and idealism over the issues of international
friendship and rhetoric. As the offered genealogical conceptualhistory4 will
demonstrate, concerns over power are inherently linked to the uses of friendship
in intellectual debates and diplomatic practices (often, but not always, institutionalised).
Focusing on the nexus of concepts and diplomatic practices is central to the
argument of this book, as it shows how
about the conceptual evolution of Labour’s
egalitarianism, he is principally concerned with policy-making, and the differing
policy proposals that Labour developed in order to promote equality.10 In this
book, the order of priority is reversed. Most attention will be accorded to the
conceptualhistory, with the links between egalitarian ideals and egalitarian policies
discussed as a secondary concern.
Method and scope of the book
These comments raise an important question of method: how should we study
the history of abstract concepts such as ‘equality’? For the
’. See also Javier Moscoso, Pain:
A Cultural History (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012).
5 William M. Reddy, The Navigation of Feeling: A Framework for the History of
Emotions (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2001).
6 See E. Gonzalez-Polledo and J. Tarr (eds), Painscapes: Framing Pain Communication (Palgrave Macmillan, forthcoming).
7 Reinhart Koselleck, ‘Transformation of Experience and Methodological Change.
A Historical-Antropological Essay’, in Koselleck, The Practice of ConceptualHistory (Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press, 2002), pp. 45–83.
Scientific Origins of
Electroconvulsive Therapy: A ConceptualHistory’.
7 See, e.g., Ackner, Handbook for Psychiatric Nurses, pp. 108–116; Bachelor,
Henderson and Gillespie’s Textbook of Psychiatry, pp. 197–209.
8 Hopton, ‘Prestwich Hospital in the Twentieth Century, p. 360.
9 See, e.g., Berghs, Dierckx de Casterle and Gastmans, ‘Practices of
Responsibility’, p. 850.
10 Reverby, ‘Rethinking the Tuskegee Syphilis Study’.
11 Gillon, Philosophical Medical Ethics, p. 87.
12 Seager, ‘Aversion Therapy in Psychiatry’, p. 424.