Das Dispositiv der Fürsorgeerziehung in Wien


  • Reinhard Sieder reinhard.sieder@univie.ac.at




coercive education, body politic, population state, youth welfare, racial hygiene and eugenics, psychiatry, therapeutic pedagogy, structural violence


The invention of a modern body politic stimulated human sciences like paediatrics, psychiatry and therapeutic pedagogy, anthropology, psychology and others. Studying the socio-cultural and the naked life they defined the normal and the abnormal, the ‘educable’ and the ‘non-educable’ child, the ‘worthy’ and the ‘unworthy’. This produced serious effects on children and their parents in cooperation with judicial and police authorities and the modern youth welfare which was started by the city council of Vienna round 1910. Psychiatrists and therapeutic pedagogues agreed on “difficult children” being medically treated. Psychoanalytic concepts of a non-violent education where not used at large scale in the city of Freud. The archipelago of municipal, confessional and private care homes was run to full capacity until violence was officially discussed first time in 1971, when the critique at psychiatry begins too. Most of the care homes and the famous Children Admittance Center were closed around 2000 and became substituted by guided shared flats and Intervention Centers scattered all over the city. Main thesis: pedagogic and psychiatric violence against children and youth of deprivileged social classes was produced by the theories of psychiatry, the racial hygiene and eugenics, especially the psychiatric theory of degeneration and the concept of “psychopathic inferiority”, the concept of neglect, the milieu theory, the racist concept of the worthless child, and others. This was fostered by Christian myths of guilt and punishment and Nazi racial anthropology. The violence could take place in the darkness of the care homes shaped as ‘total institutions’ (Goffman), which were created and kept in order to perform illegal and excessive power over the naked body.



Sieder, R. (2014). Das Dispositiv der Fürsorgeerziehung in Wien. Österreichische Zeitschrift für Geschichtswissenschaften, 25(1-2), 156–193. https://doi.org/10.25365/oezg-2014-25-1-7