New issue – BMGN-Low Countries Historical Review. Blurring Boundaries: Towards a Medical History of the Twentieth Century

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The first 2017 issue of BMGN-Low Countries Historical Review (Blurring Boundaries: Towards a Medical History of the Twentieth Century) is out now and includes two articles that may be of interest to h-madness readers.

Benoît Majerus, ‘Material Objects in Twentieth Century History of Psychiatry’. The abstract reads as follows:

Interest in the history of psychiatry in the social sciences manifested itself in the sixties and seventies at a moment when concepts such as marginality and deviance appeared as a thought-provoking path to rewrite the history of Western societies. This history of madness faces a turning point. Material culture, as this paper’s line of argument expounds, allows one to remain faithful to the critical heritage of the sixties and seventies while still opening up the field to alternative questions by integrating new actors and themes hitherto largely ignored. It allows nuanced narratives that take into account the structural imbalances of power while at the same time being attentive to the agencies of all the actors, as well as the failures of the institutional utopias.

Gemma Blok, ”We the Avant-Garde’. A History from Below of Dutch Heroin Use in the 1970s’. The abstract reads as follows:

In the 1970s the Netherlands (like many other western countries) was shocked by a sudden wave of heroin use. The heroin ‘epidemic’ is  currently framed as a public health problem that has been solved in a commendably humane fashion. In the mean time heroin users have gained a ‘loser image’. Using memoirs written by and interviews with former heroin users, this article argues that heroin use was initially linked to cultural rebellion, self-development and social criticism. We need to take this forgotten aspect of the history of the Dutch heroin ‘epidemic’ into account when we try to explain this historical phenomenon.

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