CfP: Deinstitutionalisation and After: Post-War Psychiatry in Global Perspective

Glasgow, UK, 9-10 May 2013 | Submissions deadline: 31 January 2013

Despite the popularity of the history of psychiatry, and twentieth-century psychiatry in particular, little attention has been paid to the history of deinstitutionalisation. Much of the research remains focused on psychiatric hospitals, although the proliferation of institutional forms of mental health care was among the key transformations in 20th-century psychiatry. This conference seeks to redress this imbalance in the historiography of psychiatry by addressing the broader historical context of deinstitutionalisation and how psychiatry and understandings of mental illness changed as a result.

The conference welcomes paper proposals from a broad range of disciplines, such as history, sociology, anthropology, philosophy, psychology and psychiatry. It aims to gather scholars who are working on different national contexts or who adopt a transnational or comparative perspective.

Issues that could be addressed might include, but are not limited to:

  • Types and characteristics of the mental health care institutions conceived and implemented after the Second World War as alternatives to the psychiatric hospital (e.g. day care centres and out-patient services).
  • Theoretical models and therapeutic practices of open mental health care services: the strands of biopsychiatry, psychoanalysis and social psychiatry.
  • Agents of reform: psychiatrists and other mental health care professionals; scientists, such as sociologists and anthropologists; the state; international organisations; contest movements, voluntary and patient groups.
  • Boundaries and interplay between different professionals in community mental health care, such as psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers and nurses.
  • Influences, parallels and variances among different paradigms of extra-mural mental health services; international exchanges and the interaction between local and global practices and thinking; the development of international organisations and standards; the impact of politics, ideology and international relations.
  • The patient experience of desintitutionalisation and of its aftermath and impacts.

Graduate and Postgraduate students are strongly encouraged to submit papers on research in-progress or recently completed studies.

The conference is organised by Despo Kritsotaki, Matthew Smith, Jim Mills and Erin Lux, and is hosted by the University of Strathclyde and the Centre for the Social History of Health and Healthcare (

Place: Glasgow, UK

Dates: 9-10 May 2013

Working language of the conference: English

Please submit a paper abstract (300 words) and a short CV to:

Submissions deadline: 31 January 2013

Notification of Acceptance: February 2013

Please address all inquiries to:

Financial support may be available, depending on need and the success of funding bids for the conference.

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