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Medicine, Law, and the State in Imperial Russi

by Eliza M. Becker

Publication Year: 2011

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.

Published by: Central European University Press


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pp. c-ii

Title page

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p. iii-iii

Copyright page

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p. iv-iv

Table of Contents

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pp. v-vi

List of Illustrations

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pp. vii-viii


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pp. ix-xii

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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...

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Chapter 1 Procedural Immunity: Medical Knowledge in the Age of Legal Certainty

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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...

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Chapter 2 On the Cusp of Reform: Making the Expert Scientific

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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...

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Chapter 3 Legal Mechanics: Carving Out a New Identity

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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...

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Chapter 4 Criminal Procedure in Social Context

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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,...

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Chapter 5 Reform and the Role of Medical Expertise

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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...

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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...


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pp. 279-380


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pp. 381-400

back cover

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p. bc-bc

E-ISBN-13: 9789639776876
Print-ISBN-13: 9789639776814

Page Count: 414
Publication Year: 2011