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Ulf Zander

The chapter starts from the Scarlet Pimpernel as a stage play, a book, and a film. It draws attention to the effect of the film Pimpernel Smith, featuring Leslie Howard, on Raoul Wallenberg. The dual basis for the history-cultural investigation is provided by Emmuska Orczy’s play and book about the English hero who, in disguise, saves French people from the Terror of the French Revolution in conjunction with Leslie Howard’s representations of the Scarlet Pimpernel and his ‘updated’ counterpart in the 1940s, Horatio Smith, who helps persecuted scientists and intellectuals escape from Nazi Germany. The chapter also examines the Swedish film Pimpernel Svensson and deals with another diplomat, Harald Edelstam, who, like Wallenberg, has been referred to as a latter-day Scarlet Pimpernel.

in Raoul Wallenberg
Hubert Buch-Hansen
,
Max Koch
, and
Iana Nesterova

In green political thought, including degrowth thought, it is not uncommon to see the state as part of the problem rather than the solution. Nevertheless, most of the eco-social policies that are typically suggested to initiate and deepen degrowth transformations would require a great deal of intervention by states and international organisations. Degrowth advocacy has therefore suffered from a tension between viewing the state as incapable of initiating transformational change and appealing to it to do precisely that. The chapter seeks to overcome the tension via a broad theoretical perspective on the state. It first analyses the state’s roles in the capitalist growth economy, focusing, for instance, on the welfare and the environmental state. Subsequently, it turns to the potential role of the state in degrowth transformations, considering the form and scales of state intervention, as well as its content in terms of sustainable welfare and eco-social policies.

in Deep transformations
Hubert Buch-Hansen
,
Max Koch
, and
Iana Nesterova

How can deep transformations be accomplished? To initiate the theorisation of this matter, the present chapter draws on insights from contemporary political economy scholarship, mainly in the historical materialist tradition, combined with insights from, for example, anarchism and scholarship on diverse economies. From such scholarship various prerequisites for deep transformative change are distilled: a deep crisis, an alternative political project, a comprehensive coalition of social forces and public consent. It is argued that whereas capitalism finds itself in a deep crisis and degrowth may be considered an alternative political project, currently no coalition powerful enough to bring about degrowth exists. Widespread popular consent to degrowth is also something that is currently absent. It is suggested that such consent would require self-transformation at the level of the individual, prompting people to come to view degrowth as something desirable and a sensible development.

in Deep transformations
Open Access (free)
Psychoanalytic therapy of psychoses in 1950s clinical psychiatry
Marietta Meier

After World War II, several psychiatrists in the USA began treating schizophrenic patients psychoanalytically. Various methods were applied. However, all approaches were based on the assumption that people with schizophrenia had suffered severe trauma in their early childhood. The therapy was intended to give the patients some of the love and care they had previously missed, and heal them in this way. In the early 1950s, the Psychiatric University Hospital of Zurich was likely the first state hospital in Europe to apply and study analytical psychotherapy for psychoses. Although clinical psychiatry was usually suspicious of, if not radically opposed to, the psychotherapy of schizophrenia, these trials attracted wide international interest. By pursuing a cultural-historical praxeological approach, the contribution examines the psychotherapeutic attempt and its consequences in Zurich and beyond. Based on medical records, further internal clinic documents, correspondence and contemporary specialist articles, it identifies the patterns of perception, interpretation and action in the analysed context. The focus is on the interaction processes between the new method and the relations among various groups of actors, the clinical setting as well as institutional routines. Analytic psychotherapy resulted, so the argument goes, in a fundamental, largely unintended, change in psychiatric practices, which was driven by many other factors that influenced each other.

in Doing psychiatry in postwar Europe
Practices, routines and experiences

This collective volume looks at European psychiatry in the second half of the twentieth century through a variety of practices that were experienced and routinised in the mental health field after World War II. Case studies from across Europe allow one to appreciate how new ‘ways of doing’ contributed to transform the field, beyond the watchwords of deinstitutionalisation, the introduction of neuroleptics, centrality of patients, humanisation of spaces and overcoming of asylum-era habits. Through a variety of sources and often adopting a small-scale perspective, the chapters closely examine the way new practices took shape and how they installed themselves, eventually facing resistance, injecting new purposes and contributing to enlarging psychiatry’s fields of expertise, therefore blurring its once-more-defined boundaries. The book has four sections: visions, experimentation, reflections and crossing boundaries. The first focuses on experiences that were viewed, lived and narrated by the protagonists as unique and utopian. This character of novelty is also questioned through the patient’s perspective. The following section focuses on some cases whose protagonists were aware that they were trialling new ways of doing. Although these did not necessarily become mainstream, new frameworks of therapeutic intervention were shaped, and feebler protocolar procedures and eclectic appropriations were allowed for. The third section shows how the actors were called to reflect on practices and give them meaning, adopting a reflective habit that questioned the very role of each protagonist of the therapeutic scene. The last section analyses how psychiatry entered fields of expertise other than those usually assumed.

Open Access (free)
The genesis of therapeutic practices in Basaglia’s psychiatric community (1962–68)
Marica Setaro

This chapter considers the therapeutic community established by Franco Basaglia at the Gorizia Psychiatric Hospital in Italy. It maintains that the general assembly is one of the most notable and under-investigated therapeutic practices introduced in the community. Indeed, the general assembly is the first expression of what Basaglia called ‘l’utopia della realtà’ (i.e. the actual utopia), which was actual to such an extent that it produced the dismemberment of the psychiatric institution while creating an actual, new and cohesive psychiatric system in Italy, with legislative repercussions (the closing of mental hospitals from the 1980s). In their reshaping of doctors’, nurses’ and patients’ roles, assemblies acted as primary tools for bringing the patients to the centre of the stage, as reformist psychiatrists dreamt of, and for their resubjectification. An unpublished set of sources in which the minutes of the general meetings were reported – the patients’ bulletin Il Picchio (1962–66) – will be read alongside the foundational works curated by Franca Ongaro Basaglia and Franco Basaglia. The comparison between these publications and the numerous issues of the internal ‘newspaper’ written by patients-as-journalists will prove instrumental to a more comprehensive appreciation of Basaglia’s endeavour.

in Doing psychiatry in postwar Europe
Monika Ankele

The starting point of my chapter is a sociological study conducted by Rudolf Forster and Jürgen M. Pelikan at the psychiatric hospital Baumgartner Höhe in Vienna from 1974–78. Their study on the quality of patient care in the hospital scientifically confirmed what had already come to the attention of the public and media at the time of its publication: the shortcomings and abuses in the inpatient care of the hospital. In their study, which was financed by the Ministry of Health and Environmental Protection, the sociologists also made recommendations for a reform of psychiatric care in Vienna. These were widely accepted by policymakers. Thus, the study became a cornerstone of psychiatric reform and tells of the collaboration between the social sciences and politics. The chapter develops a multilayered contextualisation of the study and asks what doing social sciences at the site of psychiatry meant at that time. It refers to the context of the history of the social sciences, which discovered the psychiatric hospital as an object of study from the 1950s onwards, to the sociopolitical context in Austria, which led to the study’s impact, and finally to the funding of the first improvements in the care of the patients, even if the research findings and reform proposals were not new at the time of their publication. The chapter builds on contemporary publications, newspaper reports, printed sources and conversations with Eberhard Gabriel, who was the hospital’s medical director from 1978 to 2004, and with the sociologist Rudolf Forster.

in Doing psychiatry in postwar Europe
Open Access (free)
Just another turn? Practices, doing psychiatry and historiography
Volker Hess
and
Marianna Scarfone

This chapter provides a methodological and epistemological foundation for the study of psychiatric practices, which are the core of the book. It argues that, from a praxeological perspective, psychiatry presents itself less as a science grounded in theory or laboratory research than as an art of doing, which can be understood as the outcome of practices. Practices, indeed, produce unforeseen or unintended consequences, which can be articulated in new structures, rules and norms, but also new meanings, habits and routines. Providing a thick description of the multiple practices that contributed to the transformation of the mental health field thus becomes a way to rehabilitate everyday practices and their performance with regard to theories and their elaboration, which means that practices cannot be reduced to the mere ‘application’ of theoretical concepts, the execution of normative rules or the intentionality of actions. Post-war psychiatry has often been reduced to the introduction of neuroleptics, to deinstitutionalisation, or to the blurring of its disciplinary frontiers. This chapter suggests looking in a more nuanced and fine-tuned way at different aspects that can define the new ways of doing psychiatry that developed in the aftermath of World War II and in the following decades. Through the reconstruction of (parts of) the daily functioning of psy-services, we can see the emergence of new actors from inside as well as from outside the mental health area of competence, and the new fields of expertise they contributed to shape (which in turn gave them new credibility in the social arena).

in Doing psychiatry in postwar Europe
Discourse and practice of psychosurgery in Strasbourg (late 1940s to early 1960s)
Florent Serina

Raising hopes of an effective treatment for mental illness, psychosurgery was widely practised throughout the Western world and beyond in the mid-twentieth century. While the history of the diffusion of this therapy, once seen as revolutionary, and the controversies it provoked are now fairly well known, the expansive field of practice still offers historians a vast amount of material to explore. By comparing scientific publications and patients’ medical records, this chapter provides an understanding of the history of the surgical treatment of mental pathologies in the main university hospital of the mental health system in north-eastern France, the University Psychiatric Clinic of Strasbourg. To do so, it combines an analysis of concrete statistical data with an illustration of the major principles, formally established or not, that guided the implementation of this therapy, while also questioning the conclusions transmitted by the main actors of this history.

in Doing psychiatry in postwar Europe
Sedating deviant youth in the 1960s and 1970s in Belgium’s juvenile institutions
Benoît Majerus
and
David Niget

The introduction of neuroleptics in the 1950s revolutionised psychiatry, as these drugs made psychiatric hospitals more manageable and contributed to the deinstitutionalisation that took place in various Western countries beginning in the 1960s. However, recent revisions paint a more nuanced picture. A revisionist historiography has shown that the definition of chlorpromazine as an antipsychotic drug took several years and that its introduction did not prevent the use of other drugs and therapeutic interventions. In addition to their therapeutic function, it became clear that neuroleptics, like other biological therapies, also had strong disciplinary potential. A complex and multilayered history of neuroleptics has emerged. This article examines the practices at one youth guidance institution in Belgium, highlighting three elements: the mobility of drugs, the interconnection between various institutions of social deviance, and the debate around the therapeutic and/or disciplinary functions of these psychotropic drugs. The article shows how impoverishing it is to look at psychiatric institutions in isolation, as the various institutions of social deviance are linked through inmates, staff, objects and other elements. Furthermore, the article seeks to deepen the debate around the therapeutic and/or disciplinary functions of these psychotropic drugs, examining the prescriptive framework of the local practices at this Belgian institution. The article concludes that biological psychiatry must be understood within the broader field of early twentieth-century psychiatric biology.

in Doing psychiatry in postwar Europe