drapetomania


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drapetomania

(drăp″ĕt-ō-mā′nē-ă) [Gr. drapetes, runaway, + mania, madness]
Wandering behavior; an uncontrollable urge to travel.
Medical Dictionary, © 2009 Farlex and Partners
References in periodicals archive ?
The diagnosis of Drapetomania, "[was determined to be] as much a disease of the mind as any other species of mental alienation." (105) The historical context of this diagnosis was the lack of contentment of slaves.
In the example of drapetomania, dysfunction is no longer a biological or psychological concept, but a socio-cultural one.
Houve epoca, em que o desejo de fuga dos escravos era considerado enfermidade mental: a drapetomania (do grego drapetes, escravo).
Cartwright "discovered" slave diseases such as "drapetomania" (the pathological desire to flee slavery) and "dysaethesia aethiopica" ("called by overseers 'rascality,'" and "so great a hebetude of intellectual faculties, as to be like a person half asleep" which, according to Cartwright, afflicted "nearly all" free Blacks "that have not got some white person to direct and to take care of them.").
elimination of diagnoses like "drapetomania"--flight-from-home
Cartwright in the De Bow's Review observed two "diseases of the mind" which he associated with slaves: drapetomania and dysaethesia aethiopica (as cited by Stampp, 1961).
Cartwright, a southern physician who speculated that African Americans were genetically inferior because of inadequate breathing practices, a so-called medical condition that he labeled "dysesthesia." Cartwright also medicalized the escape of slaves, which he called "drapetomania," an "insane desire to run away" (Gould 70, 71).
He gives arresting examples of the medicalization of deviance--stories of 'drapetomania' from 19th-century America, of pathological gambling and alcoholism in the 20th century, through to the medicalization of everything, even old age.
Later, drapetomania, or the desire of slaves to escape captivity, was perceived by the dominant White culture to be pathological and maladaptive, clearly an erroneous and irrational belief (Woolfolk, 2001).
In 1840s America, Southern alienists had already added to the sub-categories of insanity by identifying something they called drapetomania: a slave's "uncontrollable urge to run away from slavery." We must imagine these nascent psychiatrists, these men practising mindcraft before it was an accepted branch of medicine: serious men in black frock coats and high hats, genuinely unable to fathom the slave's desire to be free except as a form of pathology.