La famille divisée : internement à l’asile et conflits familiaux dans la France de la fin du XIXe siècle
This article, which is based on an analysis of patient files from several French asylums in the second half of the nineteenth century, explores family disputes that arose during internment. Far from constituting a united front, relatives sometimes had divergent opinions and interests regarding what to do with the internee. While conflicts may have revolved around financial matters, they also reveal lay interpretations and contradictory “diagnostic theories” of the illnesses. By mediating these conflicts, “alienist” physicians participated in the construction of family norms and in establishing the boundaries of what constituted the legitimate family in nineteenth-century France.