Understandings of mental health and illness were transformed in the 1960s as a generation of psychiatrists began to question the orthodoxy of their profession, reframing the aetiology of psychic distress as a consequence of an alienating, consumer society. Though the movement’s roots in existentialism and Marxist thought are often emphasised, this workshop will centre attention on how radical psychiatry developed through a critical engagement with psychoanalysis: both challenging the assumptions of the Freudian canon, and reinscribing concepts of the unconscious for the postwar age. It will also explore how the actors and theories of the radical psychiatry movement informed – and were shaped by – the political movements that emerged around 1968. We ask how ideas about social, institutional or technological coercion, either hidden or in plain sight, were mobilised by radical psychiatrists, echoing contemporaneous political critiques of ‘modern civilization’.

Beginning with a short presentation of Camille Robcis’s recent work on Félix Guattari’s involvement in the development of Institutional Psychotherapy in France, the workshop will then discuss a text by Guattari himself, alongside a contextual delineation of his work by Dagmar Herzog. The second half of the workshop will cast light on comparable practices and debates which unfolded in the USA, UK, Algeria, Italy, Germany, and Eastern Europe. By placing radical psychiatry in its broader international context, we will trace the dialogues and transformations that occurred as concepts crossed political and geographical borders.


14:00-16:00 Part I
Introduction and discussion of pre-circulated texts

Coffee break

16:30-18:00 Part II
Situating French Institutional Psychotherapy in an international perspective


19:30-21.00 Keynote by Camille Robcis
Disalienation: Philosophy, Politics and Radical Psychiatry in France

In English
Organized by

Organized by Sarah Marks (Birkbeck, University of London) and Hannah Proctor (ICI Berlin) in collaboration with Birkbeck’s Hidden Persuaders project, funded by the Wellcome Trust

Please note: the event, like all events at the ICI Berlin, is open to the public, free of charge. There is no need to register for the evening lecture. However, the workshop – due to a limited number of seats – requires prior registration.