Title

J.-M. G. Itard’s 1825 Study: Movement and the Science of the Human Mind

Publication Title

History of Psychiatry

Publication Date

3-2010

Document Type

Article

DOI

10.1177/0957154X09338336

Keywords

coprolalia, enlightenment science, itard, movement disorder, tourette syndrome

Disciplines

Philosophy of Mind | Philosophy of Science | Psychiatry and Psychology

Abstract

Jean-Marc Gaspard Itard’s 1825 ‘Study of several involuntary functions of the apparatus of movement, gripping, and voice’ discusses 10 individuals with uncontrolled movements but no other significant impairments. Thus, otherwise normal people move in inappropriate ways against their better judgement. Although the study contains the first clinical description of Tourette Syndrome, it has received little attention beyond that notice. Examined in its entirety and in its cultural context, Itard’s study characterizes patients’ movements in terms of the will, propriety, animals and gender. Lacking control over their movements, the individuals are underdeveloped humans. Accordingly, sufferers’ facial expression, bodily movements and unplanned vocalizations render them more animal than human and more deviant than normal, although they are neither insane nor evil.

Publisher

Sage Publications


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