This talk explores the intersections of politics, philosophy, and radical psychiatry in 20th century France. It focuses on a psychiatric reform movement called ‘institutional psychotherapy’ which had an important influence on many intellectuals and activists, including François Tosquelles, Jean Oury, Félix Guattari, Frantz Fanon, Georges Canguilhem, and Michel Foucault. Anchored in Marxism and in Lacanian psychoanalysis, institutional psychotherapy advocated a fundamental restructuring of the asylum in order to transform the theory and practice of psychiatric care. More broadly, for many of these thinkers, the psychiatric offered a lens to rethink the political in the particular context of postwar France.
Camille Robcis is Associate Professor of History at Cornell University. Her research focuses on three broad issues: the relationships among intellectuals,ideas, and politics; the historical construction of norms; and the articulation of universalism and difference in the context of modern France In 2013 she published the book The Law of Kinship: Anthropology, Psychoanalysis, and the Family in France, which sought to explain why and how, in the French context, academic discourses on kinship have intersected and overlapped with political debates on the family. She has published widely in journals including The South Atlantic Quarterly, Constellations, The Journal of Modern History and Social Text.
Sarah Marks (Birkbeck, University of London) and Hannah Proctor (ICI Berlin) in collaboration with Birkbeck’s Hidden Persuaders project, funded by the Wellcome Trust
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