Mennesker med afvigende kroppe - fra fattige til patienter: Et studie i videnskabeliggørelsen af den afvigende krop fra midten af 1800-tallet til begyndelsen af 1900-tallet

Emma Hjerrild Bech & Johan Irving Søltoft

Studenteropgave: Bachelorprojekt


This project seeks to investigate the perception of people with disabled bodies from the mid-19th century until the beginning of the 20th century. From a Danish perspective the disabled body has not been part of humanities studies, as it has been placed under medical research. Because of this specific research history we were not able to find any Danish theoretical or analytical empirical data. It has resolved in the methodological basis of the analysis being inspired by a foucauldian genealogy and American disability theories.
The first part of the analysis is based on a study of poverty in relation to the disabled body, as many people with disabled bodies during this time were poor, thus being a way of opening up the field. Being poor was seen as a result of moral depravity; therefore an institutionalisation in a poorhouse or a categorisation as poor resulted in a moral condemnation. Through this analysis we have discovered that in the 19th century the subjectification of people with disabled bodies was not only based on their deviant body itself as one singular discourse but rather through a myriad of discourses, where poverty and moral depravity were prominent.
By the end of the 19th century new production of knowledge about the disabled body took form. It was during this period that the first institution in Denmark was established focusing solely on the disabled body. The shift in the institutionalisation created a change in the discourse of the disabled body from a moral depravity to a somatic approach to the body. This change saved the people with disabled bodies from being morally depraved, but it also brought new potential stigma because this somatic focus on the disabled body’s manifestations enforced a binary distinction between the “normal” and the “deviant” body.
Through the analysis we have found that many of the discursive practices from the beginning of the 20th century still remain today. A critic of these stigma induced by the medical approach is the main point of disability studies that seeks to re- categorise people with disabled bodies from the medical field to a study of the disabled as a social category.

UddannelserKultur- og Sprogmødestudier, (Bachelor/kandidatuddannelse) Bachelor
Udgivelsesdato28 maj 2017
Antal sider31
VejledereLene Bull Christiansen


  • foucault
  • subjektivering
  • handicap
  • genealogi
  • historie
  • disability
  • 1800
  • 1900
  • fattigdom
  • lægevidenskab
  • biomagt