Home Books

Idiocy: A Cultural History

The term “idiot” is a damning put down, whether deployed on the playground or in the board room. People stigmatized as being ‘intellectually disabled’ today must confront variants of the fear and pity with which society has greeted them for centuries. In this new study Patrick McDonagh explores how artistic, scientific and sociological interpretations of idiocy work symbolically and ideologically in society. Drawing upon a broad spectrum of British, French and American resources including literary works, pedagogical works, medical and scientific papers, and sociological writings, Idiocy: A Cultural History offers a rich study of the history and representation of mental disability.

About the book