New article — Liberating Madness. Punishing Insanity: Soviet Hippies and the Politics of Craziness

The article ‘Liberating Madness. Punishing Insanity: Soviet Hippies and the Politics of Craziness‘ by Juliane Fürst might be of interest to H-Madness readers. It is published in the Journal of Contemporary History. The abstract reads as follows:

“This article looks at an important interface between the small community of Soviet hippies and Soviet authorities: the politics of madness. Like dissidents, hippies often found themselves forcefully sequestered in psychiatric institutions. Yet an account of state repression against colourful, innocent flower children does not give justice to the complicated power games that were fought on the battlefield of craziness. Hippies used the ease with which diagnoses of schizophrenia were handed out to obtain exemption from the army. They embraced and fostered the label ‘crazy’, subverting official actions through absolute acceptance rather than resistance. At the same time, they feared the loss of control that came with psychiatric treatment, yet re-invented their often traumatic experiences into a marker of their identity. The relationship between hippies and Soviet psychiatry reflects the multi-layered entanglement, which bound the Soviet system with one of its most unruly subjects. Hippie politics of craziness defy easy classification in conformism and dissent, instead highlighting the way in which a group at the margins of society made use of the political environment they lived in, subverting and succumbing to it at the same time”.

 

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