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ERIC Number: EJ1153609
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017
Pages: 23
Abstractor: As Provided
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0046-760X
EISSN: N/A
The Imperfect Child in Early Twentieth-Century Russia
Byford, Andy
History of Education, v46 n5 p595-617 2017
The article discusses the role that conceptualisations of child "imperfection" played in the rise and fall of Russian "child study" between the 1900s and the 1930s. Drawing on Georges Canguilhem's ideas on "the normal" and "the pathological", the article analyses practices centred on diagnosing subnormality and pathology in the Russian child population in the late tsarist and early Soviet eras. It first examines mutually competing normative regimes that framed categorisations of "imperfection" among Russia's children in the context of the empire's accelerated, yet ambivalent modernisation during the 1900s-1910s. It then charts the expansion of this diagnostics in the first decade or so of the Soviet regime, following its shift in focus from the early-1920s' "delinquent child" to the late-1920s' "mass child". The article concludes with a discussion of the emergence, over this same period, of the Russian field of medicalised special education known as "defectology". It argues that defectology's disciplinary specificity crystallised in 1936 around a purposely restrictive concept of "imperfection", understood as individualised and clinically established pathological "impairment". The latter conceptualisation became fixed at the height of Stalinism as a strategic counter to the expansive flux in which the diagnostics and conceptualisation of child "imperfection" had otherwise been over the first three decades of the twentieth century in the context of the remarkable rise of child study during this period.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Russia
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A