Archive for January, 2016

New book – Das psychiatrische Aufschreibesystem

9783770557738The blurb reads:

Die Psychiatrie entwickelte im Ausgang des 19. Jahrhunderts ein komplexes Aufschreibesystem. Die Beiträge dieses Bandes zeichnen nach, wie diese psychiatrischen Aufzeichnungspraktiken zugleich Wissen formieren, Machtkonstellationen errichten und Ontologien des Wahnsinns herstellen.
In den Verfahren des Notierens, Ordnens und Schreibens lässt sich eine Eigenlogik des Beobachtens, Sammelns, Protokollierens, Begutachtens und Interpretierens in der Psychiatrie freilegen. Schreibakte werden zumeist von der Verwaltung in Gang gesetzt, eröffnen der Psychiatrie Zugang zur juristischen Dienstbarkeit und beschleunigen die interne Ausdifferenzierung der Disziplin. Schreibszenen wirken auf die Äußerungen der Patienten zurück und reizen wiederum Phänomene an, die ihrerseits aufgezeichnet werden. So entsteht eine Dynamik, welche das Fach vorantreibt, seine Position in der Gesellschaft austariert, einmal gefundene Differenzierungen permanent über sich hinaus treibt und Klinik, Forschung und gesellschaftliche Praxis zu einem unabschließbaren Projekt geraten lässt.

New Issue – Moving the Social

Screenshot from 2016-01-25 11-47-08

The journal ‘Moving the Social: Journal of Social History and the History of Social Movements‘ has published a special issue dedicated to Disability Movements: National Policies and Transnational Perspectives. It contains the following articles:

Disability Movements National Policies and Transnational Perspectives – Introductory Remarks, by Jan Stoll

The special issue Disability Movements: National Policies and Transnational Perspectives examines different Disability Movements and their transnational entanglements in the 20th century. The articles in this issue enquire into the adaptions and transfers between different national movements and into the establishment of networks across borders nbetween like-minded people, who shared similar aims. Furthermore, they ask about nprocesses of how knowledge and strategies were transferred, exchanged and adapted. Therefore, the issue combines three different research strands: First, disability; second, new social movement research; and third, transnational approaches. The adoption of the United Nations Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2006 highlights the need of considering disability rights activism on national as well as international levels.

Governing Madness – Transforming Psychiatry Disability History and the Formation of Cultural Knowledge in West Germany in the 1970s and 1980s, by Anne Klein

In 1975, the German Bundestag published the Psychiatrie-Enquête, a 1,800 pages report, which had been produced over five years by more than 200 experts under the auspices of Aktion psychisch Kranke e.V. The reform movement, which throughout the following 20 years established institutional standards of social psychiatry in the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG), was strongly influenced by the principles of welfare politics implemented in the states of Northern Europe. However, some minor trajectories of knowledge can be detected and will be discussed in this article. On the level of therapeutic and anthropological thinking, the ongoing and fierce critique of institutionalised psychiatric exclusion in different European countries was accompanied by new arguments of social research and critical theory. On the level of historical awareness, the emerging knowledge of the Nazi genocide and euthanasia led to a memory turn in 1979. Historical research on the so-called forgotten victims supported the acknowledgement and emancipation of psychiatric patients during the 1980s, which could be realised under the new social psychiatry frame. On the level of democratisation, patients’ self-help and -advocacy as well as their networks of support established a strong voice in the public, which since then has to be heard in political decision-making. These three trajectories of (marginalised) knowledge strongly affected cultural democratisation as the necessary platform or general heaven for moving social institutions and political realities. The aim of this paper is to get a clearer image of their conceptual influences on Western Germany’s intellectual and political consciousness in moving social imagination and the democratisation of interactions. The study will work with the de/constructionist cultural approach to disability in order to expound the problems of knowledge discourses and their effects on the constructions of normativity and inequality.

Informal Networks, International Developments and the Founding of the First Interest-Representing Associations of Disabled People in Hungary in the Late Socialist Period (1970s – 1980s), by Monika Baár

The article focuses on the grassroots activities of disabled citizens in Hungary during the recent socialist period and relates to the emergence of the first two interest-representing organisations, the National Association of People with Physical Disabilities and the National Association of Parents of Children with Mental and Intellectual Disabilities in 1981. By contextualising the disabled people’s activities within the state socialist system, the article also contemplates the broader question if and to what extent it is possible to speak about a “social movement” and how the Hungarian disabled people’s activities compare to those of disabilty rights movement participants elsewhere in the world. With regard to the specific traits of the Hungarian case, the article emphasises the crucial role of informal networks. Moreover, it argues that contrary to other (capitalist) countries where the efforts of self-determination were directed against the patronising attidues of medical and professional experts, disabled activists in Hungary were actively and wholeheartedly assisted in their emancipatory desires by these professional groups. Last but not least, the article points to the significance of international connections and accommodates the activities of Hungarian disabled people within international developments and particularly within the increased activities in several countries during the International Year of Disabled Persons (1981).

The German Disability Movement as a Transnational, Entangled New Social Movement, by Jan Stoll

The article examines the Disability Movement in West Germany in the 1970s and 1980s. Therefore, disability activism in West Germany is considered with regard to new social movement research. Furthermore, the author asks for local, regional and national action-frames and addressees of the Disability Movements, based on the assumption that a movement of people personally affected by disabilities will address the national welfare policy or civil rights issues, which are bound to national legislation. The movement initially aimed at local everyday life barriers or national civil rights and societal discrimination. Thus, its action-frames and addressees were spatially bounded. However, following processes of differentiation and professionalisation in the early 1980s, the movement broadened its transnational alliances. One example considered are the attempts for the de-institutionalisation of care and the enabling of self-determined Personal Assistance, which took place in exchange with activists of the Independent Living Movement in the United States. The other example considered is the campaign of German disability activists to support a group of revolutionary people with disabilities in Nicaragua, which sets the movement into the context of new social movements and the alternative milieu with its specific political expression, habits and style.

A Blind Spot of a Guiding Country? Human Rights and Dutch Disability Groups Since 1981, by Paul van Trigt

This article investigates how and why the framework of human rights was (not) used by two important Dutch cross-disability organisations, the Dutch Council of People with Disability and the Dutch department of Independent Living, since the International United Nations Year of Disabled Persons (1981) until now. As in other countries the word human is added to give the fight for equal civil rights by disability activists more power. In striving for civil rights and equal citizenship, Dutch disability activists were in particular inspired by the disability rights movement in the United States (US). At the beginning of the 1990s the Dutch disability activists hoped to realise equal citizenship as was achieved with the Americans with Disabilities Act and to play a role as guiding country in Europe. When disability was not added to Dutch non-discrimination legislation in 1994, a narrative of “lagging behind” with regard to disability policies came into being. This narrative inspires Dutch disability activists until today. In their struggle for equal citizenship it became increasingly common to refer to human rights. In referring to rights, the Dutch were relatively late in comparison to other Western countries and this can be explained by a combination of Dutch particularities.

“Nothing About Us Without Us” Disability Rights Activism in European Countries – A Comparative Analysis, by Anne Waldschmidt/Anemari Karačić/ Andreas Sturm/Timo Dins

This paper explores disability rights activism as a form of collective political participation. This type of organised civil society has been and continues to be vital in promoting and implementing social and political change in European societies. However, little is known about its structures and resources, activities and effects. First, this paper discusses different typologies of disability rights activism and proposes an own attempt of systematising different forms of disability rights activism. By comparing various, rationalist as well as constructivist, theoretical approaches, this article develops an integrated framework for analysing disability organisations by drawing on approaches that consider the interrelations between structure and agency. Second, applying new social movement theory, we explore identity politics and models of disability as identity frames of disability rights activism. Both aspects relate to the pivotal question of how the interests of persons with disabilities are represented in disability politics. Finally, based on documentary analysis of primary data and structured national reports findings of a comparative analysis from a sample of nine European countries (Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Norway, Serbia, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom) are offered. There is evidence that the principle of self-representation—which is a crucial demand of the disability rights movement—has resulted in different practices at the level of national disability assemblies.

Review Article Disability Movements – A Growing Field of Research?, by Sebastian Weinert

Rosalyn Benjamin Darling: Disability and Identity: Negotiating Self in a Changing Society, Boulder/London: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2013, ISBN: 978 – 1-58826 – 864 – 8, 189 pp.
Swantje Köbsell: Wegweiser Behindertenbewegung: Neues (Selbst-)Verständnis von Behinderung, Neu Ulm: AG SPAK Bücher, 2012, ISBN: 978 – 3-940865 – 35 – 9, 102 pp.
Nils Löffelbein: Ehrenbürger der Nation: Die Kriegsbeschädigten des Ersten Weltkriegs in Politik und Propaganda des Nationalsozialismus, Essen: Klartext Verlag, 2013, ISBN: 978 – 3-8375 – 0839 – 0, 494 pp.
Fred Pelka: What Have We Done: An Oral History of the Disability Rights Movement, Amherst/Boston: University of Massachusetts Press, 2012, ISBN: 978 – 1-55849 – 919 – 5, 656 pp.
Heather Ridolfo/Brian W. Ward: Mobility Impairment and the Construction of Identity, Boulder/London: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2013, ISBN: 978 – 1-935049 – 96 – 8, 188 pp.
Ylva Söderfeldt: From Pathology to Public Sphere: The German Deaf Movement 1848 – 1914, Bielefeld: transcript Verlag, 2013, ISBN: 978 – 3-8376 – 2119 – 8, 316 pp.






CFP: Voices of Madness, Voices of Mental ill-health


Voices of Madness, Voices of Mental ill-health

Centre for Health Histories, University of Huddersfield

15th- 16th Sept 2016

In the thirty years since Roy Porter called on historians to lower their gaze so that they might better understand patient-doctor roles in the past, historians have sought to place the voices of previously, silent, marginalised and disenfranchised individuals at the heart of their analyses. Contemporaneously, the development of service user groups and patient consultations have become an important feature of the debates and planning related to current approaches to prevention, care and treatment. The aim of this conference is to further explore and reveal how the voices of those living with and treating mental illness have been recorded and expressed.  We hope to consider recent developments in these areas with a view to facilitating an interdisciplinary discourse around historical perspectives of mental health and illness.

The organisers invite proposals for 20 minutes on the themes of voices of madness and mental ill health under headings including but not limited to:

  • Oral history and testimony
  • Mental ill-health and community care
  • Mental ill-health and institutional histories
  • The role of informal carers
  • The growth of the mental health professions
  • Mental ill health and the voice(s) of adolescentsand children
  • Museums and the ‘heritage’ of mental ill health
  • The literature (fiction and non-fiction) of mental ill health
  • Language of madness (if not covered by ‘heritage’)
  • Dissenting voices
  • Appropriation of voices
  • Absent voices
  • Voices and art
  • Voices and stigma
  • The voices of mental ill-health on TV and radio
  • Individual, activist and social media


For more information contact Dr Rob Ellis (, Dr Sarah Kendal ( or Dr Steven Taylor ( To submit a paper proposal (250 words maximum) or express an interest, please contact Steve Taylor by 14 March 2015.

Found on H-Sci-Med-Tech.

UCL/BPS Talk – “Disordered in Morals and Mind: Prisoners and Mental Illness Late 19th c. England”


Adavances in the History of Psychology announced the first talk in the 2016 seminar series of the British Psychological Society‘s History of Psychology Centre, in conjunction with UCL’s Centre for the History of the Psychological Disciplines.

On Monday January 25th Hilary Marland will speak on “Disordered in morals and mind: prisoners and mental illness late nineteenth-century England.” Full details follow below.

Monday 25th January

UCL/British Psychological Society History of the Psychological Disciplines Seminar Series

Professor Hilary Marland (University of Warwick)

“Disordered in morals and mind: prisoners and mental illness late nineteenth-century England”

From the early nineteenth century to the current day reformers, policy makers, prison governors and medical officers have grappled with relentlessly high levels of mental illness in prisons. Since the creation of ‘modern’ and specialised prisons and prison regimes, prison regimes and conditions – the separate system, solitary confinement and overcrowding – were criticised for their impact on the mental wellbeing of their inmates. This paper explores the management of mentally ill prisoners in the late nineteenth century, paying particular attention to Liverpool Borough Prison. Managing mentally ill prisoners – male and female – became a significant part of the prison surgeons’ workload and a drain on the prison’s resources. Drawing on underexploited prison archives, official papers, medical literature, and asylum casebooks, this paper examines the efforts of prison officers to cope with mental illness among prison populations, and how these drew on, reflected and reinforced late nineteenth-century preoccupations with the criminal mind.

Time: 6pm to 7.30 pm.

Location:  Arts and Humanities Common Room (G24), Foster Court, Malet Place, University College London.

New Issue – Geschichte und Gesellschaft


A new issue of the Geschichte und Gesellschaft contains at least one article that may interest the readers of h-madness.
„Die Moderne macht sie geisteskrank!“. Primitivismus-Zuschreibung, Modernisierungserfahrung, Entwicklungsarbeit und globale Psychiatrie im 20. Jahrhundert, Hubertus Büschel

As this journal does not publish abstracts, I refer to the homepage of Hubertus Büschel, where his project entitled ‘Experiences of Modernity’ and Psychiatry: Global Histories in the 19th and 20th Centuries is described.

New Issue – Le Mouvement social


Le dernier numéro du Mouvement social contient au moins trois articles qui devraient intéresser les lecteurs de h-madness:

Vers un désenclavement de l’histoire de la psychiatrie, Isabelle von Bueltzingsloewen

Éliminer ou récupérer ? L’armée française face aux fous du début du XXe siècle à la Grande Guerre, Marie Derrien

Entre 1914 et 1918, l’armée française a mobilisé plus de huit millions d’hommes. Persuadée que la question des effectifs était cruciale, elle s’est efforcée d’incorporer le plus de combattants possible, rendant les conseils de révision moins sélectifs, récupérant des individus exemptés ou réformés, et renvoyant des soldats au front après une blessure ou une maladie. Elle s’est alors trouvée confrontée à un problème auquel elle s’était peu préparée, mais qui avait pris de l’ampleur avec l’universalisation du service militaire au début du XXe siècle : que faire des hommes atteints de troubles mentaux ? Fallait-il les éliminer des rangs ? Cet article présente les différentes réponses apportées à ces questions par l’armée et les psychiatres depuis le début du XXe siècle et, en particulier, au cours de la guerre.

« Le Mur lui est monté à la tête ». Construction du mur de Berlin et basculement dans la maladie (Berlin-Est, 1961-1968), par Fanny Le Bonhomme

Si plusieurs auteurs évoquent l’expression « maladie du Mur » (Mauerkrankheit) afin de désigner les réactions pathologiques survenues à la suite de la construction du mur de Berlin, aucune étude ne s’est encore penchée sur ses manifestations concrètes, ainsi que sur l’interprétation qui a pu en être faite par le savoir psychiatrique. C’est cette lacune que le présent article se propose de combler, en s’appuyant principalement sur l’analyse de dossiers psychiatriques et psychothérapeutiques de l’époque. Contenant les traces des expériences des patients, ces sources permettent d’interroger les modalités selon lesquelles le Mur est « entré dans les têtes », faisant basculer certains individus dans la sphère de la dépression, de l’angoisse ou de la folie. Dès les années 1960, le Mur se fait source de tristesse, de désarroi ou de peur, au point de donner naissance à l’expression de « maladie du Mur » qui en fait un élément pathogène, contredisant totalement la propagande menée par les autorités communistes. Si, dans le cadre de l’échange avec le thérapeute, les patients peuvent évoquer un sujet aussi sensible, leurs mots restent enfermés dans une logique de « circularité diagnostique ». Paradoxalement, c’est justement parce qu’ils sont perçus comme autant de signes d’une maladie mentale que les mots de ces individus – quelle que soit la dimension politique qu’ils renferment – peuvent laisser des traces dans le dossier médical. Grâce à cette source qui, tout en réduisant le sujet à son statut de malade, laisse entendre sa voix, l’historien peut avoir accès à des expériences personnelles d’ordinaire passées sous silence.

New Book – Promenades dans le Paris de la folie

carac_principale_1The blurb reads:

Une balade peu commune dans l’univers des évènements, personnages et lieux qui ont marqué l’histoire de la folie dans la capitale.

La promenade proposée à travers le Paris de la “cosa mentale” va des génies aux aliénistes plus ou moins mondains en passant par les originaux, les politiques interlopes, les utopies architecturales et l’histoire ; notre histoire.
Leurs pas les amènent de la Conciergerie à l’hôpital Sainte-Anne, de Saint-Germain-des-Prés à la Bastille, et dans bien d’autres lieux encore.
Battant le pavé, ils croisent la route de Landru, Sade, Baudelaire, mais aussi de Valentin Magnan ou de Balzac et retracent la folle histoire de la capitale.

Ce livre est une formidable balade, avec une accumulation d’anecdotes savoureuses, mais aussi un mélange discret d’humour et d’érudition solide, d’histoire et d’histoires !

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