Expertise médico-pédagogique et délinquance juvénile en Belgique au XXe siècle

Abstract :

This article discusses gendered medical and psychological discourses of risk and risk taking concerning juveniles in 20th Century Belgium. It examines more in particular the construction of such discourses through daily practices of 'scientific' observation of juvenile delinquents within Belgium’s central observation centres for boys (Mol) and for girls (Saint-Servais) between 1913 and 1965. Both observation centres were established shortly after the enactment of the Belgian Child Protection Act of 1912, that introduced the instrument of social and medical-psychological inquiry in the judicial treatment of delinquent youth. This not only reflected a significant shift in the problematisation of juvenile delinquency, it also created a new, formal and institutional ‘space for experts’ within the juvenile justice system, as a result of which medical and psychological expertises rapidly begun to influence both sentencing and re-education practices, even if this influence was contested by the judicial power. Drawing on the individual files of young delinquents placed under observation, the paper examines how their being at-risk and risk taking were translated into medical and psychological deficiencies. Through a comparison between both observation centres, it seeks to highlight the highly gendered nature of these new discourses, as well as significant shifts in experts’ definitions of moral danger and risk between the pre- and the post-war period.

Document type :
Journal articles
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Submitted on : Friday, November 16, 2018 - 12:03:19 PM
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  • HAL Id : hal-01924816, version 1
  • OKINA : ua12351



David Niget. Expertise médico-pédagogique et délinquance juvénile en Belgique au XXe siècle. Histoire@politique, Centre d'histoire de Sciences Po, 2011, pp.38-54. ⟨hal-01924816⟩



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