Medicine, Law, and the State in Imperial Russi

Medicine, Law, and the State in Imperial Russi

Elisa M. Becker
Copyright Date: 2011
Edition: NED - New edition, 1
Pages: 413
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  • Book Info
    Medicine, Law, and the State in Imperial Russi
    Book Description:

    Examines the theoretical and practical outlook of forensic physicians in Imperial Russia, from the 18th to the early 20th centuries, arguing that the interaction between state and these professionals shaped processes of reform in contemporary Russia. It demonstrates the ways in which the professional evolution of forensic psychiatry in Russia took a different turn from Western models, and how the process of professionalization in late imperial Russia became associated with liberal legal reform and led to the transformation of the autocratic state system.

    eISBN: 978-963-9776-87-6
    Subjects: Health Sciences

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-xii)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 1-14)

    Medicine and law in Russia were intertwined from their beginnings. The physician’s forensic role and the legal system were cut from the same cloth in the early eighteenth century. They were conceived and created as part of the same rationalizing and Westernizing project under Peter the Great. In his Military Statute of 1716, Peter I simultaneously transformed the legal and medical systems, and the relationship between the two. As part of its new system of administration and governance, the autocracy obligated physicians to perform medical functions for the newly created judicial system, marrying the presumed rationality of scientific methods to...

  6. Chapter 1 Procedural Immunity: Medical Knowledge in the Age of Legal Certainty
    (pp. 15-58)

    To understand how and why physicians responded to the judicial reform as they did, it is necessary to first examine the expectations and relationships that they brought with them into the reform period from their pre-reform experience. This experience, as I seek to demonstrate in this chapter, was shaped by the physician’s rule-bound work and status under the inquisitorial system.

    The historical literature, with few exceptions, has often conveyed the impression that the legal personnel who staffed the new courts were the product of the judicial reform.¹ With regard to medical personnel, it was precisely those physicians who received their...

  7. Chapter 2 On the Cusp of Reform: Making the Expert Scientific
    (pp. 59-132)

    In the period of the great reforms, a radical change took place in the medical occupation by responding to the question of evidence. The abrogation of inquisitorial procedure left a vacuum regarding the legal significance of medical conclusions. Physicians responded to this change by redefining their forensic role in line with the methodological ideals and epistemological impregnability of science.

    This shift had five main implications. First, it suggested a new justification and means for immunity from legal challenge, to replace the previous “procedural immunity” that the inquisitorial system had afforded. Second, with regard to securing legal weight for physicians’ conclusions...

  8. Chapter 3 Legal Mechanics: Carving Out a New Identity
    (pp. 133-184)

    This chapter analyzes the governmental discussion that shaped the judicial reform as it pertained to physicians. The participants in these debates were physicians and jurists, whose concerns and priorities did not always coincide. The passions aroused in the drafting of the forensic-medical statutes were divisive and generally followed occupational lines. By defining procedural rules and judicial relationships, the framers shaped the physician’s official legal role under the reform. In the same process, high-ranking physicians (with the occasional support of some jurists) introduced a new understanding of the physician’s identity in relation to, and in the language of, long-standing administrative practices,...

  9. Chapter 4 Criminal Procedure in Social Context
    (pp. 185-220)

    Unlike the rest of Continental Europe, the procedural role of the forensic-medical expert in Russia was not fixed. Recent historical scholarship on forensic medicine considers the way in which different European legal systems fostered, inhibited, and produced a particular system of legal medicine.¹ In her comparative study, Catherine Crawford analyzes the ways in which the contrasting features of the English and Continental procedural contexts shaped the respective development of forensic medicine, measured in terms of the corpus of forensic-medical literature produced.² Focusing on the different systems of proof, Crawford convincingly demonstrates that the Continent’s Roman-inquisitorial rules of formal evidence fostered...

  10. Chapter 5 Reform and the Role of Medical Expertise
    (pp. 221-266)

    The standard periodization of the late imperial period is divided into “reform” and “counter-reform.” Historians have typically examined the 1864 judicial reform in accordance with this periodization. But this division is something of an oversimplification.¹ To be sure, the introduction of the judicial reform was met with glowing optimism to the point of hyperbole in the contemporary Russian press, where it was deemed “the most capable of changing in a radical way the conditions of our national and government way of life.”² While toned down in their rhetoric, historians also have focused on the promising innovations of the judicial reform.³...

  11. Conclusion
    (pp. 267-278)

    As the Russian state was reforming institutions and social order in the late imperial period, Russian professionals were revising their conceptions of criminality and legal responsibility in an equally dramatic and related manner. Entering the twentieth century physicians joined hands with jurists in order to “rationalize” the state’s legal institutions and system of social management in the name of specialized knowledge and modern technique. Driven by common objectives, prominent members of these groups decided that professional authority could be strengthened in league with one another, in their joint efforts to introduce medical expertise—and psychiatric in particular—more pervasively throughout...

  12. Notes
    (pp. 279-380)
  13. Index
    (pp. 381-400)