Feeble-mindedness was a late-Victorian and Edwardian obsession. This is an examination of how and why certain children and adults were labelled as "feeble-minded" and segregated into special schools and colonies during this period. The book exploits a variety of archival sources and a range of contemporary medical, educational and parliamentary material. Arguing that compulsory segregation served a multitude of social, political and professional ends, successive chapters explore key themes: the birth of a concept of a "borderland of imbecility" in the late-19th century; the emergence of new institutional facilities at the turn of the century; the medicalisation of the feeble mind; the conflation of the feeble-minded with criminals, prostitutes and paupers; the educational and occupational strategies designed to reclaim the feeble-minded; and the statutory measures framed to regulate the borderland in 1913 and 1914.
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