Posts Tagged ‘ politics ’

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 book – The Recovery Revolution. The Battle Over Addiction Treatment in the United States

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The book The Recovery Revolution. The Battle Over Addiction Treatment in the United States, written by Claire D. Clark, could be of interest to H-Madness readers. The abstract reads:

In the 1960s, as illegal drug use grew from a fringe issue to a pervasive public concern, a new industry arose to treat the addiction epidemic. Over the next five decades, the industry’s leaders promised to rehabilitate the casualties of the drug culture even as incarceration rates for drug-related offenses climbed. In this history of addiction treatment, Claire D. Clark traces the political shift from the radical communitarianism of the 1960s to the conservatism of the Reagan era, uncovering the forgotten origins of today’s recovery movement.

Based on extensive interviews with drug-rehabilitation professionals and archival research, The Recovery Revolution locates the history of treatment activists’ influence on the development of American drug policy. Synanon, a controversial drug-treatment program launched in California in 1958, emphasized a community-based approach to rehabilitation. Its associates helped develop the therapeutic community (TC) model, which encouraged peer confrontation as a path to recovery. As TC treatment pioneers made mutual aid profitable, the model attracted powerful supporters and spread rapidly throughout the country. The TC approach was supported as part of the Nixon administration’s “law-and-order” policies, favored in the Reagan administration’s antidrug campaigns, and remained relevant amid the turbulent drug policies of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. While many contemporary critics characterize American drug policy as simply the expression of moralizing conservatism or a mask for racial oppression, Clark recounts the complicated legacy of the “ex-addict” activists who turned drug treatment into both a product and a political symbol that promoted the impossible dream of a drug-free America.

New issue – Bulletin of the History of Medicine

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The Bulletin of the History of Medicine published its first issue of 2017 and includes at least two articles that could be of interest to H-madness readers.

Benjamin Zajicek, ‘Banning the Soviet Lobotomy: Psychiatry, Ethics, and Professional Politics during Late Stalinism’. The abstract reads:
This article examines how lobotomy came to be banned in the Soviet Union in 1950. The author finds that Soviet psychiatrists viewed lobotomy as a treatment of “last resort,” and justified its use on the grounds that it helped make patients more manageable in hospitals and allowed some to return to work. Lobotomy was challenged by psychiatrists who saw mental illness as a “whole body” process and believed that injuries caused by lobotomy were therefore more significant than changes to behavior. Between 1947 and 1949, these theoretical and ethical debates within Soviet psychiatry became politicized. Psychiatrists competing for institutional control attacked their rivals’ ideas using slogans drawn from Communist Party ideological campaigns. Party authorities intervened in psychiatry in 1949 and 1950, persecuting Jewish psychiatrists and demanding adherence to Ivan Pavlov’s theories. Psychiatrists’ existing conflict over lobotomy was adopted as part of the party’s own campaign against harmful Western influence in Soviet society.
Jennifer Lynn Lambe, ‘Revolutionizing Cuban Psychiatry: The Freud Wars, 1955–1970’. The abstract reads:
This article traces the battle over Freud within Cuban psychiatry from its pre-1959 origins through the “disappearance” of Freud by the early 1970s. It devotes particular attention to the visit of two Soviet psychiatrists to Cuba in the early 1960s as part of a broader campaign to promote Pavlov. The decade-long controversy over Freud responded to both theoretical and political concerns. If for some Freud represented political conservatism and theoretical mystification, Pavlov held out the promise of a dialectical materialist future. Meanwhile, other psychiatrists clung to psychodynamic perspectives, or at least the possibility of heterogeneity. The Freudians would end up on the losing side of this battle, with many departing Cuba over the course of the 1960s. But banishing Freud did not necessarily make for stalwart Pavlovians—or vanguard revolutionaries. Psychiatry would find itself relegated to a handmaiden position in the work of revolutionary mental engineering, with the government itself occupying the vanguard.

 

New book – Madhouse: Psychiatry and Politics in Cuban History

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H-madness readers might be interested in the book Madhouse: Psychiatry and Politics in Cuban History written by Jennifer L. Lambe. The abstract on the publishers website reads:

On the outskirts of Havana lies Mazorra, an asylum known to–and at times feared by–ordinary Cubans for over a century. Since its founding in 1857, the island’s first psychiatric hospital has been an object of persistent political attention. Drawing on hospital documents and government records, as well as the popular press, photographs, and oral histories, Jennifer L. Lambe charts the connections between the inner workings of this notorious institution and the highest echelons of Cuban politics. Across the sweep of modern Cuban history, she finds, Mazorra has served as both laboratory and microcosm of the Cuban state: the asylum is an icon of its ignominious colonial and neocolonial past and a crucible of its republican and revolutionary futures.

From its birth, Cuban psychiatry was politically inflected, drawing partisan contention while sparking debates over race, religion, gender, and sexuality. Psychiatric notions were even invested with revolutionary significance after 1959, as the new government undertook ambitious schemes for social reeducation. But Mazorra was not the exclusive province of government officials and professionalizing psychiatrists. U.S. occupiers, Soviet visitors, and, above all, ordinary Cubans infused the institution, both literal and metaphorical, with their own fears, dreams, and alternative meanings. Together, their voices comprise the madhouse that, as Lambe argues, haunts the revolutionary trajectory of Cuban history.

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