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Sacred daemons : the perception and treatment of intellectually disabled children in British Columbia, 1870-1930 Clarke, Nicholas James

Abstract

By examining the treatment of intellectually disabled children in British Columbia between 1870 and 1930, this paper suggests that the commonly held histriographical assumption that western children experienced "dramatic change in economic and sentimental valuation" during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries requires some careful qualification. For while many parents undoubtedly invested their intellectually disabled children with the sentimental value that society increasingly projected onto 'normal' children, the same cannot be said of the majority of medical and educational professionals. Indeed, rather than "sacralize" children with intellectual disabilities, government officials and medical and educational professionals 'daemonised' them.

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