Histories of the Normal and the Abnormal: Social and Cultural Histories of Norms and Normativity

This fascinating volume tackles the history of the terms 'normal' and 'abnormal'. Originally meaning 'as occurring in nature', normality has taken on significant cultural gravitas and this book recognizes and explores that fact. The essays engage with the concepts of the normal and the abnormal from the perspectives of a variety of academic disciplines - ranging from art history to social history of medicine, literature, and science studies to sociology and cultural anthropology. The contributors use as their conceptual anchors the works of moral and political philosophers such as Canguilhem, Foucault and Hacking, as well as the ideas put forward by sociologists including Durkheim and Illich. With contributions from a range of scholars across differing disciplines, this book will have a broad appeal to students in many areas of history.