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    The coercion and confinement of LGBT people in psychiatric hospitals in Italy during the Fascist regime, 1922-1943.

    Romano, Gabriella Maria (2021) The coercion and confinement of LGBT people in psychiatric hospitals in Italy during the Fascist regime, 1922-1943. PhD thesis, Birkbeck, University of London.

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    My doctoral research examines the question of the repression of LGBT people through the use of psychiatry during the fascist regime in Italy, a subject that has not been investigated until now. My thesis draws together the substantial archival record of patients, doctors and the fascist authorities to reconstruct this highly complex and intricate behind-the-scenes dialogue, and to document one of the ways in which the regime repressed LGBT lives in this period. I focus on three different institutions, in three parts of the country, to compare attitudes and therapeutic approaches. The results of this part of the research are contextualised within the psychiatric theory of the time. The aim is to ascertain whether, when dealing with homosexual patients, there were discrepancies between psychiatric theory and the routine practice of mental health institutions in Italy during the regime. This research fills a gap in the history of psychiatry, as the literature until now has focused mainly on the decades between the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth century, or on the 1970s and 1980s, when asylums where abolished with the introduction of the so-called “Basaglia Law” (Law n. 180). It also tries to fill another gap, that of historiography on homosexuality in Italy, a subject that has been overlooked not only with regard to the fascist period, but more generally. My research reconstructs the lives of many LGBT people and draws on archival materials that have barely been investigated from this specific perspective. The persecution of LGBT people in Italy has often been denied or belittled because it happened in a hidden and subtle way. My research demonstrates how the repressive system against LGBT people operated effectively and efficiently, albeit without specific laws or public statements.


    Item Type: Thesis
    Additional Information: ‘This thesis is not currently available for public use
    Copyright Holders: The copyright of this thesis rests with the author, who asserts his/her right to be known as such according to the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. No dealing with the thesis contrary to the copyright or moral rights of the author is permitted.
    Depositing User: Acquisitions And Metadata
    Date Deposited: 08 Jun 2021 16:41
    Last Modified: 14 Jun 2021 15:46


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