PhD: History of sexual perversion

PhDPhD (Doctorat) in Epistemology/History of Sciences and Philosophy, University of Picardy Jules Verne, Amiens, France, with first class honours.

Title : « Histoire de la perversion sexuelle. Émergence et transformations du concept de perversion sexuelle dans la psychiatrie de 1797 à 1912 » / « History of sexual perversion. Emergence and transformations of the concept of sexual perversion in the psychiatry between 1797 and 1912 »

PhD thesis available online :

Abstract : History of marginal sexualities has been quite extensively analyzed since the early 70’s both from the cultural history perspective and the history of sexuality viewpoint. But nowadays few philosophical researches attempt to provide a critical epistemological explanation of the concept of sexual perversion. This concept is in itself a queer object . It is a medico-psychological category that has been present in psychopathologia for over a century and a half . However it displays evident moral aspects whose sheer presence should have lead to its elimination from the field of knowledge of mind illness since a long time. How to restitute the historical and epistemological stability of a concept within which two apparently contradictory dimensions converge ? This twork will explore the articulation between the moral and the psychological discourses on sexuality, through the genealogy of the concept of sexual perversion in French psychiatry during the extended 19th century (1797-1912). Two questions are transversal to this history : what is the relationship between sexual perversion and conducts non-conform to moral, social and legal standards, i.e what is called deviance ? And what are images of relationship between sex and the evil stemming from psychopathological discourses ? These two issues then open the way to a larger problematization of the function and political effects of the concept of sexual perversion, questioning the security policy and politics towards social deviances, but also the place of pleasure in the contemporary occidental civilization.


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