“Legitimation and critique” of “modern”asylum psychiatry in the 19th and 20th century are in the focus of the symposium. During the 1980s critical historiography based on Michel Foucault’s theories questioned the progress oriented optimistic history of “modern” asylum psychiatry – a history that had often been written by psychiatrists involved in the contemporary discourse themselves. In particular, the social costs of concepts aiming at more humane living conditions were challenged. The focus of research was centred around the topic of “total institutions” (Goffman) with their repressive internal structures. Recently, this aspect of structural history was complemented by a patient oriented perspective. Hospitalised patients and people working in hospitals were now considered as social actors.
In the 18th century the practice of caring for “the insane” in asylums was sharply criticised by enlighted and enlighting scholars visiting psychiatric hospitals and “madhouses”. The living conditions in asylums were already defamed by them as “medieval” and they postulated the need for new and modern concepts of psychiatric care. Around 1900 critiques grew to a social movement – called polemically “antipsychiatry” by psychiatrists – formulating its critique on theory and practice of “modern” asylums more drastically. The social structure of the movement, people involved, its political contents and practical implication have not been closely examined yet.
The symposium is intended to throw light into the reciprocal relationship of psychiatrists and public critiques of psychiatry around 1900. It aims at displaying the tensions between public critiques and alienist’s strategies of legitimating and professionalising psychiatry. Historiographic as well as contemporary sources may serve to come close to this topic. In a trans- and interdisciplinary exchange scholars of the history of psychiatry from various fields will contribute to the symposium.
Veranstaltungsort – Location:
Universitätsklinikum Robert-Koch-Straße 40 37075 Göttingen Hörsaal MED 568 Um Anmeldung wird gebeten bis zum 27.8.2004 bei: (Registration until the 27th of August 2004:)
Fee (incl. Dinner, 9th Sept. and Lunch,11th Sept.)/Tagungsgebühr (incl. Abendessen, 9.9. und Imbiss, 11.9.): 30 € / 20 € students,AIP
The symposium is sponsored by the Fritz Thyssen Stiftung für Wissenschaftsförderung Dr. Heiner Fangerau Institute for the History of Medicine Heinrich-Heine-University Duesseldorf Universitaetsstrasse 1 Building 23.12.04 D-40225 Duesseldorf Tel. +49 (0) 211 81 – 14303 or – 13940 Fax. +49 (0) 211 81 13949