Biology, development and welfare

Chloe Campbell

in Race and Empire

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780719071607
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781700686 | DOI:
Biology, development and welfare

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This chapter explores the effects of biological thinking on attitudes towards African development and social policy in Kenya using juvenile delinquency, intelligence testing and mental health as examples. Debates about juvenile delinquency and criminal insanity were domestic aspects of a wider eugenic debate about African educability and social progress, but the colony also fed into an international circuit interested in race and intelligence through research conducted under the auspices of the Carnegie Corporation. The treatment of juvenile delinquency in the discourse on African development provides an insight into the role of eugenic thinking in social policy in Kenya. The juvenile delinquent in Kenya came to represent the problems of urban poverty and social breakdown induced by developments imposed by the colonial state. Eugenics was essentially the application of biological solutions to social problems; Gordon's attitude to mental health and to brain and intelligence both complied with this modern approach.

Keywords: juvenile delinquency; criminal insanity; mental health; urban poverty; eugenics

Chapter.  14274 words. 

Subjects: Colonialism and Imperialism

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