Article: L’impossible asile. La maison des aliénés de Corsier (1832-1838), by Marco Cicchini and Ludovic Maugué

The article “L’impossible asile. La maison des aliénés de Corsier (1832-1838)”, by Marco Cicchini and Ludovic Maugué might be of interest to h-madness readers.

The abstract reads:

“Between 1832 and 1838, in the village of Corsier near Geneva, a rural building was transformed into a public establishment for the insane. This experience, which has been passed over in silence or regarded as a mere parenthesis by the historiography of the asylar conquest in Switzerland, is modest in terms of its duration and size. However, it provides a condensed illustration of the obstacles, failures and hesitations surrounding the creation of specialised institutions for the mentally ill in the first half of the 19th century. Corsier’s house is exemplary of a time when the knowledge, actors and locations of the nascent psychiatry were largely undetermined, when the medical monopoly on insanity was even a distant chimera. The choice to settle in Corsier was not the product of health circumstances – the cholera epidemic is threatening Switzerland – but the result of a conception of mental alienation that links therapeutic ambition to the requirements of public order and the administrative management of psychological or social abnormality. In its form and mode of operation, Corsier’s house is one of those places of madness, among others in Switzerland and Europe, between the general hospital and the asylum”.

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