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Sexology, psychoanalysis, literature

This volume tells the story of the case study genre at a time when it became the genre par excellence for discussing human sexuality across the humanities and the life sciences. A History of the Case Study takes the reader on a transcontinental journey from the imperial world of fin-de-siècle Central Europe and the Austro-Hungarian Empire to the interwar metropolises of Weimar Germany, and to the United States of America in the post-war years.

Foregrounding the figures of case study pioneers, and always alert to the radical implications of their engagement with the genre, the six chapters scrutinise the case writing practices of Sigmund Freud and his predecessor sexologist Richard von Krafft-Ebing; writers such as Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, Oskar Panizza and Alfred Döblin; Weimar intellectuals such as Erich Wulffen, and New York psychoanalyst Viola Bernard. There result important new insights into the continuing legacy of such writers, and into the agency increasingly claimed by the readerships that emerged with the development of modernity—from readers who self-identified as masochists, to conmen and female criminals.

Where previous accounts of the case study have tended to consider the history of the genre from a single disciplinary perspective, this book is structured by the interdisciplinary approach most applicable to the ambivalent context of modernity. It focuses on key moments in the genre’s past, occasions when and where the conventions of the case study were contested as part of a more profound enquiry into the nature of the human subject.

Open Access (free)
Birgit Lang, Joy Damousi, and Alison Lewis

Conclusion Birgit Lang, Joy Damousi and Alison Lewis This volume delineates the changing forms of the case study across disciplines and decades, mapping circuits of knowledge through which the sexed and gendered human subject became a persistently urgent topic of enquiry in the Western world. A History of the Case Study presents an analysis of case writing about the human subject from a critical juncture in its formation in the second half of the nineteenth century, when, as claimed by Michel Foucault, sexuality came to be regarded as a conceptual part of human

in A history of the case study
Open Access (free)
Birgit Lang, Joy Damousi, and Alison Lewis

Introduction Birgit Lang, Joy Damousi and Alison Lewis A History of the Case Study represents a critical intervention into contem­ porary debate concerning the construction of knowledge which – after Michel Foucault’s elaborations on modern discourses of power – considers the medical case study in particular as an expression of new forms of disciplinary ­authority. This volume scrutinises the changing status of the human case study, that is, the medical, legal or literary case study that places an individual at its centre. With close reference to the dawning of

in A history of the case study
Open Access (free)
Literary satire and Oskar Panizza’s Psichopatia criminalis (1898)
Birgit Lang

that establish a framing narrative, followed by four ‘diagnostic chapters’ on the phenomena of: softening of the brain; mania; melancholy; and paranoia. In turn, these ∙ 91 ∙ A HISTORY OF THE CASE STUDY are followed by five sets of case notes about intellectuals afflicted with the frightful condition. The threefold structure of Psichopatia criminalis is a most peculiar form that contributes both to the satirical character of the work and to its subversion. Preface and introduction establish the framework of reference and entail a hefty satire against members of the

in A history of the case study
Birgit Lang

expertise to communicate new academic insights to the reading public. Wulffen’s case stories were conceived as creative works of fiction with the purpose of illustrating certain criminal psychological insights gained in his academic work. This chapter represents the most in-depth scholarly engagement with the breadth and nuance of Wulffen’s case writings, and explores the intellectual contexts and case writing traditions that influenced Wulffen’s use of case modalities: his humanist education, the cases and case writing ∙ 119 ∙ A HISTORY OF THE CASE STUDY traditions of

in A history of the case study
Leopold von Sacher-Masoch’s Venus im Pelz (1870)
Birgit Lang

-Masoch the author and his writing, and – by extension – between authors and their works in general.3 This critique of the subjugation of literary discourse to the act of sexological classification seems particularly warranted in light of the immense academic and public success of the category of maso­chism – a category which, by the early twentieth century, had proven crucial to the understanding of the principles of sexual formation and human be­ haviour. Even the canonisation of Venus im Pelz as a classic text of erotic ∙ 19 ∙ A HISTORY OF THE CASE STUDY literature can

in A history of the case study
Birgit Lang

HISTORY OF THE CASE STUDY the reinterpretation of Leopold von Sacher-Masoch’s life and oeuvre, in the late nineteenth century anthropologisation arose from specific needs related to readers’ sexual identities and contributed to the making of sexual modernity. Underlying this new, highly specific, sexualised account of Sacher-Masoch’s life was a need among his readers to humanise their own subject position, a need that was powerfully projected onto Sacher-­ Masoch as a creative writer. To psychiatrists and psychoanalysts of the fin de siècle, interrogation of the lives

in A history of the case study
Alison Lewis

observe the ‘hidden costs’ of modern capitalism in the rise of sexually motivated crimes and modern pathologies, which were now manifesting not merely as middle-class problems but as mass social phenonema.4 French writers of the nineteenth century had already observed that the modern age urgently needed to anchor its literature in real life and to ∙ 157 ∙ A HISTORY OF THE CASE STUDY document modern maladies. The sickness of their era was hysteria and writers such as Gustave Flaubert plumbed this topic for a voracious reader­ ship.5 But by the early twentieth century

in A history of the case study
Joy Damousi

wide variety of sources, including public discussions as ∙ 189 ∙ A HISTORY OF THE CASE STUDY these were reflected in the press; specialised talks within the professions of psychiatry and psychoanalysis; and Bernard’s personal correspondence. These materials all pertain to an evolving narrative, the writers responding to political and social events as they unfolded. As the civil rights movement in the USA gained momentum from the 1940s, Bernard was ahead of her time in advocating the urgent need to train more African-Americans for entry into the profession of

in A history of the case study
Fabien Provost

In contemporary forensic medicine, in India, the label of complete autopsy applies to a whole range of post-mortem examinations which can present consid- erable differences in view of the intellectual resources, time, personnel and material means they involve. From various sources available in India and elsewhere, stems the idea that, whatever the type of case and its apparent obviousness, a complete autopsy implies opening the abdomen, the thorax and the skull and dissecting the organs they contain. Since the nineteenth century, procedural approaches of complete autopsies have competed with a practical sense of completeness which requires doctors to think their cases according to their history. Relying on two case studies observed in the frame of an ethnographic study of eleven months in medical colleges of North India, the article suggests that the practical completeness of autopsies is attained when all aspects of the history of the case are made sense of with regard to the observation of the body. Whereas certain autopsies are considered obvious and imply a reduced amount of time in the autopsy room, certain others imply successive redefinitions of what complete implies and the realisation of certain actions which would not have been performed otherwise.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal