Psychiatry

Psychiatric Power - Lectures at the College de France by Michel Foucault

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By Michel Foucault

During this new addition to the Collège de France lecture sequence, Michel Foucault's old enquiry into the makes use of and strategies of strength and information reveals itself directed in the direction of a research of the delivery of psychiatry. Psychiatric strength indicates not just how Western society's department of the "mad" from the "sane" all started, but in addition how society, medication, and legislations and their therapy of the "mad" constructed into what we now realize as sleek psychiatry, and the way smooth social and political attitudes in the direction of insanity built. A seminal paintings via this major philosopher of the fashionable age, Psychiatric energy builds on Foucault's released writings whereas beginning new vistas inside of ancient and philosophical learn.

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And this profaning gesture of throwing mud, refuse, and excrement over the carriages, silk, and ermine of the great, well, King George III, having been its victim, knew full well what it meant. So there is a total reversal of the sovereign function here, since the king takes up the insurrectional gesture not just of the poor, but even of the poorest of the poor. When the peasants revolted, they used the tools available to them as weapons: scythes, staves, and suchlike. Artisans also made use of the tools of their trade.

At this level of the cure, of this event, the psychiatric scene and procedure are, I believe, from that moment, absolutely irreducible to what was taking place in medicine in the same period. It is this heterogeneity then that will mark the history of psychiatry at the very moment at which it is founded within a system of institutions that nevertheless connect it to medicine. For all of this, this stag ing, the organization of the asylum space, the activating and unfolding of these scenes, are only possible, accepted and institutionalized within establishments that are being given a medical status at this time, and by people who are medically qualified.

Pp. 5 0 9 511; ibid. pp. 253 255. Foucault is alluding here to the analyses of Louis Althusser who introduced the concept of "State apparatus" in his article "Ideologic et appareils ideologiques d'Etat. Notes pour une recherche," La Pensee. Revue du rationalisme moderne, no. 51, June 1970, pp. 3 3 8 ; reprinted in Positions (1964-1975) (Paris: Editions Sociales, 1976) pp. 65 125; English translation, "Ideology and Ideological State Apparatusses" in L. Althusser, Lenin and Philosophy, trans. (London: New Left Books, 1971).

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