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Epistémologie, Histoire de la psychiatrie, Sexualité et perversion

Workshop « Psychopathological fringes: Historical and social science perspectives on category work in psychiatry », February 13th-14th 2015

J’interviendrai dans le workshop « Psychopathological fringes: Historical and social science perspectives on category work in psychiatry », organisé par Nicolas Henckes, Volker Hess, Emmanuel Delille, Marie Reinholdt, Stefan Reinsch, Lara Rzesnitzek les 13 et 14 février 2015 à Berlin, Institute for the History of Medicine (Dahlem).

Programme à venir 

Titre et résumé de l’intervention : Psychosexual disorders from 1850 to the 21st century : which transformations ?  

All categories of psychosexual disorders (from the « perversion of sexual instinct » of the French alienists to the « paraphilias » of the American psychiatry) are liminal categories in two main ways : because of their special status and uses between psychopathology, law and social/moral regulations of sexual practices, and because they have always been at the periphery of the psychopathological field from their birth in the middle of the 19th century until today, fluctuating between “mental disorder”, “abnormality” and “behavioural deviance”. Yet the stability of their clinical field (from “fetishism” and “exhibitionism” to “sadism”) and even their very existence despite the multiplicity of external but also internal criticisms (especially since the 1970’s) and the controversies they raised and continue to raise (as shown by the recent debates about « paraphilias » during the revision process of the DSM 5 and about « disorders of sexual preference » in the revision process of the ICD) deserve to be questioned.

We aim to analyse the trajectories of these categories of “psychosexual disorders” since their invention in France in the middle of the 19th century till the 21st century. What were the historical, social, legal and political contexts of their definition and transformations ? How have their terminologies and their diagnosis criteria evolved alongside their conceptual revisions during one and a half century ? And why have the canonical list of their species barely changed, in spite of the major transformations in the social and cultural context of regulation, representation and experience of sexuality during the 20th century ? We will show that the answer can be found in the relation between the main legal norms (and their implicit principles) that regulate sexual conducts since the 19th century in the Western World and the involvement of psychopathology in forensic practices (since the 19th century) and in the prevention of sexual aggressions (since the last decades of the 20th century).

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