Posts Tagged ‘ Finland ’

New issue: Social History of Medicine

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The new issue of Social History of Medicine includes at least two articles that could be of interest to H-Madness readers:

Katariina Parhi and Petteri Pietikainen, Socialising the Anti-Social: Psychopathy, Psychiatry and Social Engineering in Finland, 1945–1968.

This article argues that in Finland during the two decades after the Second World War, the diagnosis of psychopathy represented a failed attempt to adjust ‘difficult’ individuals to the social order. Discussing the social and medical character of the diagnosis, we examine psychopathy using the analytic and historical framework of social engineering in post-war Finland. We utilise patient records, official documents and psychiatric publications and analyse the diagnostic uses of psychopathy and its associations with social maladjustment. We also address the question of how mental health care in the less-developed northern part of Finland grappled with behavioural deviance, and especially with behaviour deemed ‘anti-social’. Contextualising psychopathy as a marker of individual disorganisation within the development of social organisation, this article contributes to historical scholarship that maps mental disorders onto the historical development of the nation.

Concepts used by historians are as historical as the diagnoses or categories that are studied. The example of Munchausen syndrome (deceptive presentation of illness in order to adopt the ‘sick role’) is used to explore this. Like most psychiatric diagnoses, Munchausen syndrome is not thought applicable across time by social historians of medicine. It is historically specific, drawing upon twentieth-century anthropology and sociology to explain motivation through desire for the ‘sick role’. Ian Hacking’s concepts of ‘making up people’ and ‘looping effects’ are regularly utilised outside of the context in which they are formed. However, this context is precisely the same anthropological and sociological insight used to explain Munchausen syndrome. It remains correct to resist the projection of Munchausen syndrome into the past. However, it seems inconsistent to use Hacking’s concepts to describe identity formation before the twentieth century as they are given meaning by an identical context.

 

Conference – The Body Politics: States in the History of Medicine and Health. Provisional programme online

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The European Association for the History of Medicine and Health organises the conference The Body Politics: States in the History of Medicine and Health, which will be held from the 30th of August until the 2nd of september in Bucharest. The provisional conference programme has appeared online and incorporates a few sessions that could be of interest to H-Madness readers (see below). For a full overview of all the panels see here. 

Thursday, August 31st
11.00‐13.00 PANEL 1 ‐ ETHICS AND EXPERTISE. Chair: Frank Huisman (Main Amphitheatre )
  • State-authorized medical ethics: the disciplinary function of the British General Medical Council, 1858‐1914 (Andreas‐Holger Maehle)
  • ‘“A misconception of educational psychologists’ work”: expertise, child psychology and the aftermath of the 1967 Summerfield Report’ (Andrew Burchell)
  • Medical Ethics in a Modern Society. The ‘free medical profession’ and the Dutch state, 1945‐ 1980 (Noortje Jacobs)
  • State and expertise. The emergence of psychiatry as legal expertise in Europe in the 1820s (Svein Atle Skålevåg)

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New Articles first online – Social History of Medicine

4-coverSocial History of Medicine has prepublished online two articles that may interest the readers of h-madness.

Katariina Parhi and Petteri Pietikainen “Socialising the Anti-Social: Psychopathy, Psychiatry and Social Engineering in Finland, 1945–1968.” The abstract reads as follows:

This article argues that in Finland during the two decades after the Second World War, the diagnosis of psychopathy represented a failed attempt to adjust ‘difficult’ individuals to the social order. Discussing the social and medical character of the diagnosis, we examine psychopathy using the analytic and historical framework of social engineering in post-war Finland. We utilise patient records, official documents and psychiatric publications and analyse the diagnostic uses of psychopathy and its associations with social maladjustment. We also address the question of how mental health care in the less-developed northern part of Finland grappled with behavioural deviance, and especially with behaviour deemed ‘anti-social’. Contextualising psychopathy as a marker of individual disorganisation within the development of social organisation, this article contributes to historical scholarship that maps mental disorders onto the historical development of the nation.

Steven J. Taylor: “‘She was frightened while pregnant by a monkey at the zoo’: Constructing the Mentally-imperfect Child in Nineteenth-century England.” The abstract reads as follows:

Classifications and concepts of insanity during the nineteenth century were constructed by numerous professional, quasi-professional and lay observers. Consequently, ideas of mental ill health and its causes were varied. This article explores how ‘insanity’ in children was observed, explained and evolved following 1845. It focuses on medico-cultural exchanges between families and doctors to plot shifts in how child mental health was understood. Numerous causes of insanity were given at admission including terrifying dogs, out of control lunatics and even visits to the zoo shocking expectant mothers so severely that they produced mentally-imperfect children. Such narratives were superseded by a dialogue that still included the family and their ideas, but also served the professional and intellectual agenda of medical men in consolidating their expertise over the insane. The article examines varied ideas of insanity, highlights the importance of the family in influencing medical understanding and introduces the experience of asylums for children.

Found thanks to Advances in the History of Psychology.

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