Tagged: Psychiatry

Madness and Civilization, Revisited

“For the madness of men is a divine spectacle: In fact, could one make observations from the Moon, as did Menippus, considering the numberless agitations of the Earth, one would think one saw a swarm of flies or gnats fighting among themselves, struggling and laying traps, stealing from one another, playing, gambling, falling, and dying, and one would not believe the troubles, the tragedies that were produced by such a minute animalcule destined to perish so shortly.”  ― Michel Foucault, Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason. 1961. America struggles with mental health: we are in the...

Michel Foucault: Madness and Civilization. 1961

The book [easyazon_link identifier=”067972110X” locale=”US” tag=”mainacademicsite-20″]Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason[/easyazon_link], written by Michel Foucault in 1961, is a classic in 20th century Continental philosophy. It offers a sharp historical analysis of the relations between rationality and mental disorder. The book marks a turning from phenomenological method towards structuralism: the change in the relationship between madness and rationality is driven by powerful social structures. The person with the mental disorder is seen as “the other,” and the attempts to dialog and understand the person affected by the disease are increasingly replaced by a monolog of...

Rosenhan: On Being Sane In Insane Places

How do we know what constitutes “normality” or mental illness? Conventional wisdom suggests that specially trained professionals have the ability to make reasonably accurate diagnoses. In the research described below, however, David Rosenhan provides evidence to challenge this assumption. What is — or is not –“normal” may have much to do with the labels that are applied to people in particular settings. in 1973, Rosenhan conducted an experiment by sending eight pseudo-patients into psychiatric hospitals. Once admitted, they acted normal, but they were still treated as insane. He concludes that one cannot distinguish the sane from the insane in psychiatric hospitals. The experiment got...