New issue – History of Psychiatry

The September 2011 issue of History of Psychiatry is now out and includes the following articles:

“The history of Italian psychiatry during Fascism” (Andrea Piazzi, Luana Testa, Giovanni Del Missier, Mariopaolo Dario, and Ester Stocco)

Specific features characterized Italian psychiatry during Fascism (1922—45), distinguishing it from Nazi psychiatry and giving rise to different operational outcomes, so we have investigated the state of Italian psychiatry during this period. We review the historical situation that preceded it and describe the social and health policies that Fascism introduced following new legislative and regulatory acts. We examine the preventive and therapeutic role played by psychiatry (the electric shock was an Italian invention) and, thanks to the Enciclopedia Italiana published during those years, we are able to highlight psychiatry’s relationship to psychology, psychoanalysis, philosophy and religion. The shortcomings of Italian psychiatric research and practice are also seen in terms of what the State failed to do rather than what it did.

“The mental health sector and the social sciences in post-World War II USA Part 2: The impact of federal research funding and the drugs revolution” (Andrew Scull)

The second of two linked papers examining the interactions of psychiatry and the social sciences since World War II examines the role of NIMH on these disciplines. It analyses the effects of the prominence and the decline of psychoanalysis, and the impact of the psychotropic drugs revolution and the associated rise of biological psychiatry on relations between psychiatry and clinical psychology; and it explores the changing relationships between psychiatry and sociology, from collaboration to conflict to mutual disdain.

“Insanity and ethnicity in New Zealand: Mori encounters with the Auckland Mental Hospital, 1860—1900” (Lorelle Barry and Catharine Coleborne)

This article examines Māori patients at the Auckland Mental Hospital between 1860 and 1900. We argue that the patient case notes reveal ‘European’ categories in which Māori were situated, and demonstrate the extent to which the authorities at the hospital grappled with their appearance, their language and their culture, all of which were elements of their ethnicity. We argue that the use of institutional case records is highly suggestive of some of the historical meanings of insanity for Māori, including the lack of detailed or sustained collection of information about patients’ tribal affiliations, the interest shown in their rights to land in maintenance payment inquiries, the experiences of cultural alienation or mate Māori, and the sad outcomes for Māori.

“The American Psychiatric Association and the history of psychiatry” (Laura Hirshbein)

The history committee within the American Psychiatric Association was actively involved in the history of psychiatry in the early decades of the twentieth century, as well as from 1942 to 2009. This paper explores the role of this committee in the context of changes in the psychiatric profession over the twentieth century.

“What is a ‘mood-congruent’ delusion? History and conceptual problems” (Tsutomu Kumazaki)

This article investigates the history of the concept of mood-congruent delusions and the problems accompanying this concept. In the late nineteenth century, there were conflicting views regarding the relationship between the contents of an individual’s delusional thought and his/her affective state. The differentiation between delusion-like ideas secondary to affective state and incomprehensible primary delusions was introduced in the early twentieth century; this differentiation is the origin of the present-day distinction between mood-congruent and -incongruent delusions. Although the themes of delusions are clearly described in the operational diagnostic criteria for mood-congruent psychotic symptoms, the concept of mood congruence inevitably involves ambiguity. This article argues that a dilemma between reliability and validity emerges when diagnosing mood-congruent (and -incongruent) psychotic symptoms.

“Evacuation and deprivation: the wartime experience of the Devon and Exeter City Mental Hospitals” (David Pearce)

In Exeter, the need for space to treat casualties in World War II led to a significant reduction in capacity at one psychiatric hospital and the closure of another. In spite of this, inpatient stays were longer than in peacetime, partly due to relatives who had to weigh up the advantages and disadvantages of having their unwell kin returned to them. In the latter years of the war, admissions from the Devon catchment area were higher than in peacetime. Having more patients who stayed longer was largely compensated for by utilizing free space as opposed to reducing admissions, leading to overcrowding and a restricted inpatient regime.

This issue also contains the first part of August Wimmer’s classic text “Psychogenic Psychoses”, introduced by Johan Schioldann; two book reviews (R.J. Craig’s Up By reviewed by Gayle Davis and S. Schweizer’s Anthropologie der Romantik reviewed by Andreas Sommer); as well as a list of recent pertinent dissertation abstracts.

More information and a complete table of contents can be found at

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