Der Verdacht der Simulation

Eine psychiatrische Fallgeschichte zwischen Aneignung und Disziplinierung am Ende des 19. Jahrhunderts
  • Annett Bretthauer
  • Volker HessEmail author


Geschichte der Psychiatrie Geschichte der Forensik Simulation spätes 19. Jahrhundert agency 

The Suspicion of Simulation. A Psychiatric Case History between Appropriation and Disciplinary Action at the End of the 19th Century.

This case history explores how the question of agency was dealt with historically in two developing, normative orders of deviant behaviour. Examining the institutional career of the supposed adulterer, marriage swindler, and craft baker, we can trace the different observation regimes and systems of knowledge acquisition in the prison and in psychiatry. In both institutions there was talk of simulated madness; the explanations, however, were different. For the prison doctors and civil servants, the baker was a criminal; his deviant behaviour was a matter of consciously planned-out deception. For the examining psychiatrist, on the other hand, he was mentally ill and could not be held responsible for his own behaviour.

The case also shows how the suspicion of simulated madness stabilized an intermediate space between the two regimes that can be seen in the incoherence of the historical sources. This conflict was never resolved; the very indecisiveness marked the defiance and agency of the historical actor that could not be clearly decided within the institutional observation regimes and their methods of recording.


history of psychiatry history of forensic science simulation late 19th century agency 

Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag, Basel 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut für Geschichte der Medizin, CharitéCentrum 1 für Human- und Gesundheitswissenschaften (ZHGB)Charité – Universitätsmedizin BerlinBerlinGermany

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