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Medizinhist J. 2007;42(1):30-60.

["Querulousness", anti-psychiatry, and the public around 1900].

[Article in German]

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Universit├Ątsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf, Institut f├╝r Geschichte und Ethik der Medizin.


The querulent and the paranoid litigant as specific types of modern insanity partly owe their psychiatric genesis to an ambivalent legal-political development in 19th-century Germany. One the one hand the legal system had been opened up to the recognition of civil rights, on the other hand the extensive use of these new rights raised many problems. Open court proceedings and the daily press provided opportunities of information for the general public. The critical anti-psychiatry movement, which developed from the 1880s, used these opportunities rigorously with regard to psychiatric statements made in court. The public played a major role in the conflict with the psychiatrists, including the dispute about "querulousness" and its definition. This paper discusses how psychiatrists and medical laypersons confronted each other in their struggle over expert knowledge versus "common sense" regarding "pathological querulents".

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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