Posts Tagged ‘ psychiatry ’

Registration now open – “Medicine and Modernity in the Long Nineteenth Century” (Oxford, Sept. 2016)

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Medicine and Modernity in the Long Nineteenth Century
St Anne’s College, University of Oxford
Saturday 10 – Sunday 11 September 2016

Saturday 10 September

9.00        Arrivals and registration

9.30        Welcome and Introduction

9.45        Keynote lecture: Christopher Hamlin, What is your Complaint?  Health as Moral Economy in the Long Nineteenth Century

11.00     Coffee break

11.30     Panel sessions

Session A: The Making of Psychological Identities

Mikko Myllykangas, Suicide as a Sign of Modernity and its Criticism in Finnish Suicide Discourse in the 19th Century

Bernhard Leitner, The Mirror Stage of Pathology: Trajectories of Psychiatric Concepts in the Making of Modern Japan

Katariina Parhi, Dangerous Age of Nervousness: Modernity, Crime, and Legal Responsibility

Session B: Medical Marketing

Alice Tsay, Pills for Our Ills: Patent Medicine Marketing and the Formation of Global Modernity

Lesley Steinitz, Swallowing Modernity: Advertising a Nerve-Strengthening Food

Sophie Ratcliffe, “Giovanni’s got some splendid pills!” Daisy Miller and the ‘Virus of Suggestion’

Session C: Disseminating Scientific Knowledge

Andrew Mangham, William Gaskell, Sanitary Reform and the Diseases of Modern Manchester

Jeffrey Zalar, Strain: Catholic Reactions to Science in Germany, 1840–1914

Jens Lohfert Jørgensen, Bacteriological Modernism

1.00        Lunch

2.00        Panel sessions

Session A: Illness and Politics

Laurens Schlicht, The Revolutionary Shock: The French Revolution and the Medical Construction of the Modern Subject (France, 1800–1830s)

Alex Chase-Levenson, Sanitation and Civilization: The Eastern Question and the Plague

Daphne Rozenblatt, Political Origins of the Modern Psychopath

Session B: Maintaining Health Abroad

Jennifer Kain, ‘Few can benefit more than the over-taxed and over-worried brain worker’: 19th-Century Voyages for Health

Daniel Simpson, Poison Arrows and Unsound Minds: Medical Encounters in the Victorian South Pacific

Angharad Fletcher, Sex, Drugs and Suicide: Nursing Encounters on the ‘Frontiers’ of Empire, 1880–1914

Session C: Masculinity, Modernity, and Mental Health

Amy Milne-Smith, “I have Overworked my Brain”: Men’s Relationship to Work in Modern Britain

Philippa Lewis, An Outdated Emotion? Feeling Shy in fin-de-siècle France

Matthew Klugman, Football Fever – A Disease of Modern Life?

 

3.30        Coffee break

4.00        Panel sessions

Session A: Sick Landscapes

Erin Lafford, ‘Your vile fenny atmosphere’: Clare’s Fenlands and Climatic Susceptibility

Manon Mathias, Excrement and Infectious Disease in the Late 19th-Century French Novel

Keir Waddington, Drought, Disease, and Modernity in Rural Wales, c.1880–1914

Session B: Health, Disease, and Technology

David Trotter, Digital Disease: Communication in the Telegraph Era

Projit Mukharji, Metaphoric Modernity: Railways, Telegraphs and the New Ayurvedic Body in Victorian Bengal

Galina Kichigina, Electrical Therapy for the Heart: German Scientific Medicine and British Physiology. The Cases of Hugo von Ziemssen and John MacWilliam

Session C: Fatigue

Laura Mainwaring, Deficiency of the Vital Forces: The Rhetoric of Overwork in the 19th-Century Medical Marketplace

Susan Matt and Luke Fernandez, Focus and Fatigue: Cerebral Hyperaemia and the Perils of Specialized Knowledge in 19th-Century America

Steffan Blayney, ‘Drooping with the century’: Fatigue and the fin-de-siècle

5.30        Break

6.00        Drinks reception

7.00        Dinner in St Anne’s Dining Hall

 

Sunday 11 September

9.30        Panel sessions

Session A: Children’s Health and Disease

Mallory Cohn, Modern Complaints: Victorian Precocity and the Regulation of the Child

Steven Taylor, Imperfect Bodies: The Waifs and Strays Society, Childhood Disability, and Improvement

Jutta Ahlbeck, The Nervous Child and the Disease of Modernity

Session B: Illness, Identity, and Migration

Brad Campbell, Neurasthenia and the New Negro: The 19th-Century Psychiatric Origins of a Modern American Type

Sally Swartz, Migration, Dislocation and Trauma: The Case of Jewish Immigrants to Cape Colony during the 19th Century

Jessica Howell, Enervated India: Tropical Neurasthenia and the Fictions of Empire

Session C: The Body and Modernity

Agnes Arnold-Foster, Pathology of Progress: Cancer in 19th-Century Britain

Helen Goodman, Symptoms of Stress and the Modern Man of Science

F.E. Thurston, The (Re-) Discovery of Noise-Induced Hearing Loss in the 19th Century

11.00     Coffee break

11.30     Panel sessions

Session A: Physical Culture and the Regulation of the Body

Zachary Turpin, “Manly Health and Training”: Whitman’s Long-Lost Guide to Fitness and 19th-Century Anxieties about Physiological Purity and Perfectibility

Joan Jacobs Brumberg, Anorexia Nervosa: Modernity and Appetite

Alexander Pyrges, Corpulence as an Affliction of the Modern World. Medical and Popular Views in 19th-Century Germany

Session B: Nervousness

Sonsoles Hernández Barbosa, Diversification or Sensory Unification? Ideas around the Evolution of the Senses in fin-de-siècle Culture

Michael Guida, Sonic Therapy: Harmony for Disordered Nerves

David Freis, Preventing Mental Illness in One’s Sleep: Nervousness, Psychiatric Prophylaxis and the Invention of Mental Hygiene in fin-de-siècle Germany

Session C: Medical Practitioners

Sam Nesamony, Medical Philanthropy: ‘Medical Chest’ and ‘Touring Clinics’ of Missionaries in Colonial India

Torsten Riotte, Science, Technology and Individual Responsibility: The Professional, Judicial and Public Debate about Medical Negligence during the 19th Century

Carol-Ann Farkas, The Woman Doctor as Medical and Moral Authority: Nervous Disorders, Purity Campaigns, and Gender Relations in Helen Brent, MD

1.00        Lunch

2.00        Panel sessions

Session A: Rhythmic and Non-Rhythmic Bodies

Laura Marcus, Rhythm and Adaptation in the Machine Age

Karen Chase, Wynken, Blynken, and Nod

Josephine Hoegaerts, Victims of Civilization: Recording, Counting and Curing Stammerers in 19th-Century Western Europe

Session B: Addiction

Alessia Pannese, Sense and Sensibility in 19th-Century Addiction

Thembisa Waetjen, Habit-Forming Substances and Medicinal Modernities in Colonial South Africa, 1885–1910

Douglas Small, Cocaine, Technology, and Modernity, 1884–1914

Session C: Understanding and Managing Psychiatric Disorder

Kristine Swenson, Phrenology as Neurodiversity: The Fowlers and Modern Brain Disorders

Alfons Zarzoso, A New Medicine for the Insane in a Modern and Industrial Barcelona

Susan Sidlauskas, Picturing/Narrating the ‘Voluntary Boarder’ at Holloway Sanatorium c.1890

3.30        Coffee break

4.00        Keynote lecture: Laura Otis, What’s at Stake in Judging the Health and Pathology of Emotions?

5.00        Conference close

For more information: https://diseasesofmodernlife.org/conference-2016/

Psychiatry’s Identity Crisis

American psychiatry is facing an identity crisis, writes Cornell psychiatrist Richard A. Friedman in a New York Times opinion piece published this week:

AMERICAN psychiatry is facing a quandary: Despite a vast investment in basic neuroscience research and its rich intellectual promise, we have little to show for it on the treatment front.

With few exceptions, every major class of current psychotropic drugs — antidepressants, antipsychotics, anti-anxiety medications — basically targets the same receptors and neurotransmitters in the brain as did their precursors, which were developed in the 1950s and 1960s.

Sure, the newer drugs are generally safer and more tolerable than the older ones, but they are no more effective.

To read the rest of this article, click here.

Special Issue of Science in Context: “Of Means and Ends: Mind and Brain Science in the Twentieth Century”

The latest issue of Science in Context, guest edited by Stephen T. Casper, deals with the mind and brain sciences in the twentieth century. Its essays cover a range of topics relevant to H-Madness readers, from the Thematic Apperception Test to Edgar Adrian’s Thermionic Vacuum Tube, from Hugo Münsterberg’s Psychotechnics to the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, and from the Psychosurgery Controversy of the 1970s to the Intersecting Histories of Psychiatry and Psychology in Twentieth-Centuy US.

Titles and abstracts below:

Of Means and Ends: Mind and Brain Science in the Twentieth Century

Stephen T. Casper

What role does context play in the mind and brain sciences? This introductory article, “Of Means and Ends,” explores that question through its focus on the ways scientists and physicians engaged with and constructed technology in the mind and brain sciences in the twentieth century. This topical issue addresses how scientists, physicians, and psychologists came to see the ends of technology as important in-and-of themselves. In so doing, the authors of these essays offer an interpretation of historian Paul Forman’s revisionist and highly contextualist chronology of the twentieth century, which presents the comparatively recent tendency to aggrandize the ends of technology as evidence of a major, epochal transformation in the epistemic culture of twentieth-century American science. This collection of papers suggests that it was in the vanguard of such fields as psychology, psychiatry, and neurophysiology in North America and Europe that the ends and applications of technology became important in-and-of themselves.

Dredging and Projecting the Depths of Personality: The Thematic Apperception Test and the Narratives of the Unconscious

Jason Miller

The Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) was a projective psychological test created by Harvard psychologist Henry A. Murray and his lover Christina Morgan in the 1930s. The test entered the nascent intelligence service of the United States (the OSS) during the Second World War due to its celebrated reputation for revealing the deepest aspects of an individual’s unconscious. It subsequently spread as a scientifically objective research tool capable not only of dredging the unconscious depths, but also of determining the best candidate for a management position, the psychological complexes of human nature, and the unique characteristics of a culture. Two suppositions underlie the utility of the test. One is the power of narrative. The test entails a calculated abuse of the subjects tested, based on their inability to interpret their own narrative. The form of the test requires that a subject fail to decipher the coded, unconscious meaning their narrative reveals. Murray believed the interpretation of a subject’s narrative and the projection contained therein depended exclusively on the psychologist. This view of interpretation stems from the seemingly more reasonable belief of nineteenth-century Romantic thinkers that a literary text serves as a proxy for an author’s deepest self. The TAT also supposes that there is something beyond consciousness closely resembling a psychoanalytic unconscious, which also has clear precedents in nineteenth-century German thought. Murray’s views on literary interpretation, his view of psychology as well as the continuing prevalence of the TAT, signals a nineteenth-century concept of self that insists “on relations of depth and surface, inner and outer life” (Galison 2007, 277). It is clear the hermeneutic practice of Freud’s psychoanalysis, amplified in Jung, drew on literary conceptions of the unconscious wider than those of nineteenth-century psychology.

The Birth of Information in the Brain: Edgar Adrian and the Vacuum Tube

Justin Garson

As historian Henning Schmidgen notes, the scientific study of the nervous system would have been “unthinkable” without the industrialization of communication in the 1830s. Historians have investigated extensively the way nerve physiologists have borrowed concepts and tools from the field of communications, particularly regarding the nineteenth-century work of figures like Helmholtz and in the American Cold War Era. The following focuses specifically on the interwar research of the Cambridge physiologist Edgar Douglas Adrian, and on the technology that led to his Nobel-Prize-winning research, the thermionic vacuum tube. Many countries used the vacuum tube during the war for the purpose of amplifying and intercepting coded messages. These events provided a context for Adrian’s evolving understanding of the nerve fiber in the 1920s. In particular, they provide the background for Adrian’s transition around 1926 to describing the nerve impulse in terms of “information,” “messages,” “signals,” or even “codes,” and for translating the basic principles of the nerve, such as the all-or-none principle and adaptation, into such an “informational” context. The following also places Adrian’s research in the broader context of the changing relationship between science and technology, and between physics and physiology, in the first few decades of the twentieth century.

Screening the Psychological Laboratory: Hugo Münsterberg, Psychotechnics, and the Cinema, 1892–1916

Jeremy Blatter

According to Hugo Münsterberg, the direct application of experimental psychology to the practical problems of education, law, industry, and art belonged by definition to the domain of psychotechnics. Whether in the form of pedagogical prescription, interrogation technique, hiring practice, or aesthetic principle, the psychotechnical method implied bringing the psychological laboratory to bear on everyday life. There were, however, significant pitfalls to leaving behind the putative purity of the early psychological laboratory in pursuit of technological utility. In the Vocation Bureau, for example, psychological instruments were often deemed too intimidating for a public unfamiliar with the inner workings of experimental science. Similarly, when psychotechnical means were employed by big business in screening job candidates, ethical red flags were raised about this new alliance between science and capital. This tension was particularly evident in Münsterberg’s collaboration with the Paramount Pictures Corporation in 1916. In translating psychological tests into short experimental films, Münsterberg not only envisioned a new mass medium for the dissemination of psychotechnics, but a means by which to initiate the masses into the culture of experimental psychology.

Of Psychometric Means: Starke R. Hathaway and the Popularization of the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory

Rebecca Schilling and Stephen T. Casper

The Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) was developed at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, in the 1930s and 1940s. It became a highly successful and highly controversial psychometric tool. In professional terms, psychometric tools such as the MMPI transformed psychology and psychiatry. Psychometric instruments thus readily fit into the developmental history of psychology, psychiatry, and neurology; they were a significant part of the narrative of those fields’ advances in understanding, intervening, and treating people with mental illnesses. At the same time, the advent of such tools also fits into a history of those disciplines that records the rise of obsessional observational and evaluative techniques and technologies in order to facilitate patterns of social control that became typical during the Progressive Era in the United States and after. It was those patterns that also nurtured the resistance to psychometrics that emerged during the Vietnam War and after.

The Surgical Elimination of Violence? Conflicting Attitudes towards Technology and Science during the Psychosurgery Controversy of the 1970s

Brian P. Casey

In the 1970s a public controversy erupted over the proposed use of brain operations to curtail violent behavior. Civil libertarians, civil rights and community activists, leaders of the anti-psychiatry movement, and some U.S. Congressmen charged psychosurgeons and the National Institute of Mental Health, with furthering a political project: the suppression of dissent. Several government-sponsored investigations into psychosurgery rebutted this charge and led to an official qualified endorsement of the practice while calling attention to the need for more “scientific” understanding and better ethical safeguards. This paper argues that the psychosurgery debate of the 1970s was more than a power struggle between members of the public and the psychiatric establishment. The debate represented a clash between a postmodern skepticism about science and renewed focus on ultimate ends, on the one hand, and a modern faith in standards and procedures, a preoccupation with means, on the other. These diverging commitments made the dispute ultimately irresolvable.

Contending Professions: Sciences of the Brain and Mind in the United States, 1850–2013

Andrew Scull

This paper examines the intersecting histories of psychiatry and psychology (particularly in its clinical guise) in the United States from the second half of the nineteenth century to the present. It suggests that there have been three major shifts in the ideological and intellectual orientation of the “psy complex.” The first period sees the dominance of the asylum in the provision of mental health care, with psychology, once it emerges in the early twentieth century, remaining a small enterprise largely operating outside the clinical arena, save for the development of psychometric technology. It is followed, between 1945 and 1980, by the rise of psychoanalytic psychiatry and the emergence of clinical psychology. Finally, the re-emergence of biological psychiatry is closely associated with two major developments: an emphasis that emerges in the late 1970s on rendering the diagnosis of psychiatric illnesses mechanical and predictable; and the long-term effects of the psychopharmacological revolution that began in the early 1950s. This third period has seen a shift the orientation of mainstream psychiatry away from psychotherapy, the end of traditional mental hospitals, and a transformed environment within which clinical psychologists ply their trade.

Epilogue: The Redux of Postmodernity

Roderick D. Buchanan

The essays in this topical issue illustrate the changing cultural form and function of the biopsyche disciplines – disciplines that are both sciences and technologies of selfhood. To varying degrees, each essay actively engages Paul Forman’s thesis on modern and postmodern cultural valuations of science and technology. Forman invites those who read his work to view the cultural space framing science and technology in new ways (Forman 2007; idem 2010).

For more information, click here.

Colloque – “Le genre : quel défi pour la psychiatrie ?” (Paris, Décembre 2013)

Le genre : Quel défi pour la psychiatrie ?

Biologie et société dans les classifications de la clinique

4 et 5 décembre 2013

Salle du Conseil

Faculté de Médecine Paris Descartes

Le nombre des places étant limitées, merci de vous inscrire -gratuitement- en envoyant un simple courriel à : gendpsy@gmail.com

Mercredi 4 décembre 2013

8h30 Accueil des participants

9h00 Ouverture par Rebecca ROGERS – Paris Descartes – CERLIS

9h15 Introduction:
Jean-Christophe COFFIN – LEM EA 4569/ CAK, Francesca ARENA – AMU-TELEMME, Silvia CHILETTI – CAK
9h45 – 12h45

1. Genre et santé mentale : une histoire entre subjectivités et politique

Présidente de séance : Christine BARD – Université d’Angers –Cerhio

9h45-10h15 Catherine FUSSINGER – IUHMSP, Lausanne

La question de la dépression dans le champ « genre et santé mentale »

10h15-10h45 Nausica ZABALLOS – CAK / IRIS – EHESS

Le genre dans l’espace médiatique à la fin des années 1990 : le « cas » Guillaume Dustan

Pause

11h00-11h30 Gabrielle SCHNEE – Paris 13

La clinique des homosexualités, un renouveau avec le débat public ?

11h30-12h00 Arnaud ALESSANDRIN – Centre Émile Durkheim UMR 5116 / O.D.T.

Que reste-t-il du « transsexualisme » dans le nouveau DSM ?

12h00-12h30 Discussion

12h30-14h00 Pause déjeuner

14h00 – 17h15

2. Genre, sexe et sexualités : vers une épistémologie des identités ?

Président de séance : Pierre Henri CASTEL – Cermes3 CNRS

14h00-14h30 Nicole EDELMAN – Paris Ouest Nanterre

Pouvoir psychiatrique et folie hystérique (fin XIXe siècle, France)

14h30-15h00 Thibault POLGE – Paris 1

Le genre, émancipation ou parachèvement de la différence des sexes ? De l’inversion sexuelle au transsexualisme

15h00-15h30 Anne BOISSEUIL – Service de Pédopsychiatrie de Valvert, 13

Féminin/masculin, identité et sexuel chez l’enfant

Pause

15h45-16h15 Sebastien SAETTA – École de Santé Publique -Université de Lorraine, EA APEMAC

Analyse critique des discours « psy » autour des troubles psychiques de la grossesse et du post-partum

16h15 -16h45 Eric MACÉ – Centre Emile Durkheim UMR 5116

Des troubles de genre aux troubles dus au genre

16h45-17h15

Discussion

Jeudi 5 décembre 2013

9h30 – 12h15

3. Médecine, savoirs et institutions : questionner les pratiques cliniques

Président de séance : Michel DUGNAT – Pôle universitaire de psychiatrie de l’Assistance publique – hôpitaux de Marseille

9h30-10h00 Lucille GIRARD – LEM EA 4569

Le médecin face à la demande de soin des personne transsexuelles : les risques d’un jugement de valeur

10h00-10h30 Laurence HÉRAULT – AMU – IDEMEC

Le Trouble de l’identité de genre et son usage dans la pratique psychiatrique française

Pause

10h45-11h15 Stéphanie PACHE – IUHMSP, Lausanne/ IRIS -EHESS

Une brève histoire du mouvement féministe américain pour transformer les théories et les pratiques en santé mentale

11h15-11h45 Anne – Sophie VOZARI – IRIS – EHESS

Les dépressions périnatales : des troubles « normaux » ? Penser les coûts sociaux de la maternité

11h45-12h15 Discussion

12h15-13h45 Pause déjeuner
13h45 – 17h00

4. Le genre sous le regard des experts : science, normes et société

Présidente de séance : Irène FRANÇOIS – CHU de Dijon –

Université de Bourgogne/LEM EA 4569

13h45-14h15 François VIALLA – Université de Montpellier –CERDES

Transidentités : les troubles du droit

14h15-14h45 Alain GIAMI – Inserm – CESP

Les classifications de la sexualité : entre le DSM 5 et la CIM 10

14h45-15h15 Nicolas MOREL-JOURNEL – CHU Lyon

La place de la médecine dans la question du genre

Pause

15h30-16h00 Erik SCHNEIDER – Intersex & Transgender Luxembourg

Peur des psychiatres de prendre la mauvaise décision et influence

des normes de genre

16h00-16h30 Denise MÉDICO – Fondation Agnodice, Lausanne/Université de Genève

Subjectivités trans*, la psychologie confrontée au genre et au sexe

16h30-17h00 Discussion

Conclusions du colloque par Christian HERVÉ – LEM EA 4569

Philosophical Issues Psychiatry: The Nature and Sources of Historical Change

Conference at the University of Copenhagen, 9-11 May 2013

Speakers: German  Berrios,  Emilie  Bovet,  John  Dupre,
Eric Engstrom, Ian Hacking, Kenneth Kendler, Helen Longino,
Robert Michels, Josef Parnas, Yuji Sato, Kenneth Schaffner,
Miriam Solomon, Kathryn Tabb, Eric Turkheimer, Peter Zachar

For more information see Copenhagen 2013

Séminaire d’histoire de la psychiatrie

Le Nouvel Hôpital Saint-Anne<br />Le nouveau bâtiment Joseph Lévy-Valensi de l'Hôpital Sainte-Anne à Paris quelques jours avant son inauguration.<br />Une construction d’environ 10 000 M2, de 112 lits et places, sur le site de l'hopital psychiatrique historique de Sainte-Anne (1867), rue Cabanis.<br />Ce nouveau bâtiment héberge des unités de psychiatrie universitaire, la Clinique des Maladies Mentales et de l’Encéphale (CMME) et des unités de psychiatrie de secteur.<br />Photos © Razak

Le Nouvel Hôpital Saint-Anne
Le nouveau bâtiment Joseph Lévy-Valensi de l’Hôpital Sainte-Anne à Paris quelques jours avant son inauguration. Une construction d’environ 10 000 M2, de 112 lits et places, sur le site de l’hopital psychiatrique historique de Sainte-Anne (1867), rue Cabanis. Ce nouveau bâtiment héberge des unités de psychiatrie universitaire, la Clinique des Maladies Mentales et de l’Encéphale (CMME) et des unités de psychiatrie de secteur.
Photos © Razak

Coordonné par le Pr Julien-Daniel Guelfi et le Dr François Bing

Sous l’égide du Dr Jacques Postel

Ce séminaire a lieu le deuxième mardi de chaque mois à 20h.

Petit amphithéâtre, ex. CMME

Centre Hospitalier Sainte Anne

108 rue de la Santé 75014 Paris

Renseignements : François Bing, tél : 01.40.13.06.15

Programme 2012-2013

9 octobre 2012

Introduction à l’histoire de la psychiatrie, François Bing

13 novembre 2012

Histoire des thérapeutiques en psychiatrie, Michel Caire

11 décembre 2012

Introduction à l’histoire de la pédopsychiatrie, Thierry Gineste

8 janvier 2013

Éléments historiques sur les addictions, Marc Valleur

12 février 2013

Michel Foucault et l’histoire de la folie, Jean-François Braunstein

19 mars 2013

Corps et psychiatrie, Françoise Giromini

9 avril 2013

Histoire de l’art thérapie, Anne-Marie Dubois

14 mai 2013

Évolution des classifications américaines en psychiatrie, Julien-Daniel Guelfi

11 juin 2013

Le concept de psychose de Freud à Lacan, Alain Vanier

Review – Quétel Claude, Histoire de la folie de l’antiquité à nos jours, Paris, Tallandier, 621 p., 2009.

Pour les historiens francophones, Claude Quétel demeure l’auteur d’une thèse volumineuse sur l’hôpital psychiatrique du Bon-Sauveur, dans la région de Caen, ville de cette Normandie contée par Gustave Flaubert et Guy Maupassant et largement meurtrie au XXe siècle par les années de guerre auxquelles il s’est intéressé par la suite. L’auteur reprend l’étude de la folie après plusieurs années d’absence sur ce terrain bien que l’on se souvienne de son ouvrage de synthèse écrit en collaboration avec le psychiatre Jacques Postel – que les historiens ont eu souvent l’occasion d’apprécier pour ses écrits et ses observations1.

Ce volumineux livre a de nouveau l’ambition d’être une synthèse du traitement de la folie dans un espace qui n’est cependant pas vraiment défini. Les sources concernent la France dans la très grande majorité des cas bien que certains médecins évoqués par Cl. Quétel fassent partie du panthéon de l’histoire de la psychiatrie européenne. Plusieurs événements ayant eu lieu hors de France sont évoqués – l’émergence de la psychanalyse, la stérilisation des malades en Allemagne, l’antipsychiatrie en Italie ou en Angleterre, l’impact du DSM américain – sans que l’auteur ne se réfère aux travaux des collègues européens ou nord-américains sur les sujets traités. Des articles issus des revues relevant de son objet (Frenia, Gesnerus, History of Psychiatry, Medical History, Medicina e Storia etc.) ne sont jamais cités. De la même manière, Cl. Quétel méconnaît les travaux les plus récents réalisés en France et accomplis par de jeunes chercheurs. Sans doute parce que l’auteur ne quitte jamais sa thèse: l’histoire de la psychiatrie est en France sinistrée depuis que Michel Foucault a traversé ce domaine de recherches. Ce n’est que récemment que l’on pourrait reprendre en toute liberté le travail de recherche. Ce n’est toutefois pas à cela que Cl. Quétel s’emploie. Son objectif est tout aussi idéologique que l’intention prêtée à Foucault. On comprend dès lors mieux le titre donné par Quétel à son ouvrage : c’est une anti-Histoire de la folie à l’âge classique. A force de critiquer Michel Foucault – ce que d’autres ont déjà fait avec beaucoup plus de force et de finesse – Cl. Quétel n’évite pas les propos caricaturaux et on ne voit pas très bien quelle serait l’urgence à déterrer la hache de guerre.

On parviendra ici ou là à prendre quelques informations et observations utiles dans les chapitres concernant ce que l’auteur connaît le mieux et qu’il a parfois déjà publié (les exemples issus de l’hôpital du Bon Sauveur sont sollicités à plusieurs reprises.) On trouvera également quelques références parfois peu connues rappelant que l’auteur savait trouver des documents pertinents et adéquats. Ces aspects ne suffisent pas cependant à faire oublier les erreurs factuelles, les interprétations insolites sur tel ou tel point d’une histoire de la psychiatrie qui à force de vouloir tout couvrir rate souvent sa cible. Le chapitre intitulé « Les antipsychiatries » est de ce point de vue tout à fait exemplaire. L’historien se transforme ici en avocat des psychiatres français qui n’en demandaient pas tant et leurs collègues italiens sauront apprécier les propos tenus !

Mon espoir est de pouvoir convaincre nos collègues européens que ce livre n’est pas représentatif de la recherche française dans le domaine de l’histoire de la psychiatrie ni des travaux de sciences sociales explorant la santé mentale et de les rassurer sur la possibilité de travailler dans une ambiance sereine en France. Les nuages planant sur la psychiatrie d’aujourd’hui ne sont sûrement pas lancés par Michel Foucault ni par son fantôme.

Jean-Christophe Coffin.

1 Cl. Quétel et J. Postel Nouvelle histoire de la psychiatrie, Paris, Dunod, 1994.

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