Marcel Gauchet, Gladys Swain, Catherine Porter's Madness and Democracy: The Modern Psychiatric Universe (New PDF

By Marcel Gauchet, Gladys Swain, Catherine Porter

How the insane asylum turned a laboratory of democracy is printed during this provocative examine the therapy of the mentally in poor health in nineteenth-century France. Political thinkers reasoned that if executive was once to relaxation within the fingers of people, then measures can be taken to appreciate the inner most reaches of the self, together with the kingdom of insanity. Marcel Gauchet and Gladys Swain keep that the asylum initially embodied the innovative desire of curing all of the insane via saving the glimmer of sanity left in them. Their research of why this utopian imaginative and prescient failed eventually constitutes either a robust argument for liberalism and a right away problem to Michel Foucault's indictment of liberal institutions.

The production of a synthetic surroundings was once intended to inspire the mentally sick to reside as social beings, in stipulations that resembled up to attainable these triumphing in genuine existence. The asylum used to be for this reason the 1st example of a latest utopian group within which a scientifically designed surroundings used to be imagined to in achieving entire keep an eye on over the minds of a complete class of humans. Gauchet and Swain argue that the social domination of the interior self, faraway from being the hidden fact of emancipation, represented the failure of its overly positive beginnings.

Madness and Democracy combines wealthy information of nineteenth-century asylum lifestyles with reflections at the an important position of subjectivity and distinction inside of modernism. Its ultimate fulfillment is to teach that the teachings discovered from the failure of the asylum ended in the increase of psychoanalysis, an activity fascinated about person care and at the cooperation among psychiatrist and sufferer. via linking the increase of liberalism to a bankruptcy within the heritage of psychiatry, Gauchet and Swain supply a desirable reassessment of political modernity.

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Additional resources for Madness and Democracy: The Modern Psychiatric Universe (New French Thought Series)

Sample text

The plan outlined in 1801 no longer has anything to say about the distribution of patients and the two-pronged hospital organization that continued to prevail in the Charenton project without exception: on the one hand, there were potentially curable lunatics for whom treatment was worth attempting; on the other hand, there were incurables who simply had to be kept locked up. The essential novelty of the conseil’s project, on the contrary, is based on the idea that the optimal solution would entail bringing all the insane together in a single establishment, those alleged to be receiving treatment at the Hôtel-Dieu along with those abandoned to their presumed incurability at Bicêtre, La Salpêtrière or the Petites-Maisons.

And yet in that empirically inaccurate conviction there is a profound truth. For, in a special sense, Pinel was unquestionably 26 PART ONE: ASYLUM ADVENT/FAILURE the first to show, indirectly but in a radical way, that insanity is not incurable. He did so by revealing the need to view insanity in terms of what opens it up, what makes it accessible, in principle, to the therapeutic grasp, what keeps it, essentially, from being entirely closed in on itself— for such a self-enclosed state would make it inaccessible, would compel us to see insanity as “incurable,” with some inexplicable exceptions.

It is useless, finally, to dwell at length on what has been acquired, indisputably, by psychoanalytic decoding. Anyone can put this to the test at any time: for the psyche, there is no meaning except embodied meaning, and only in the inexpressible singularity of a trace, a sound, a mark, are the most ordinary data of one’s condition as subject concretized and lodged within one’s very depths. The abyss of the particular is the only way by which human beings can rejoin the common truth of their nature.

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