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Patient work in rural asylums in Württemberg, c. 1810–1945
Thomas Müller

This chapter focuses on rural asylums in south Germany, the former kingdom of Wuerttemberg. Various forms of patient work in psychiatric institutions are discussed in relation to their varied contexts and diverse structures. Patient work in the asylums was organised in agricultural colonies. Various forms of handicraft in and outside the asylum were part of the daily life of patients in psychiatric family care settings. Zwiefalten, the oldest asylum in Wuerttemberg, is at the core of this study, while some attention is also given to the asylums of Schussenried and Weissenau. It is shown that various aspects of the institutions‘ history are not fully in line with the development of psychiatry in other regions of the country.

in Work, psychiatry and society, c. 1750–2015
Comparative and transnational perspectives, c. 1700–1990s

This book addresses head-on one of the central debates in the history of alcohol and intoxication, the supposed ‘medicalisation’ of alcohol from the nineteenth century onwards. The chapters show that the very concept of medicalisation as used in the history of medicine and psychiatry needs to be more closely interrogated, with each case study in the volume demonstrating the complexities of medicalisation in practice: limited funding, state control of healthcare, ideological constraints and tensions between legislation and traditional cultural practices. The engagingly written chapters call attention to the many obstacles and challenges that historians face when they explore the relationship between medicine and alcohol. The volume also explores the shift from the use of alcohol in clinical treatment, as part of dietary regimens, incentive to work and reward for desirable behaviour during earlier periods to the emergence of ‘alcoholism’ as a disease category that requires medical intervention, is covered by medical insurance and is considered as a threat to public health. The book’s broad international scope goes well beyond the focus on Western Europe and the USA in existing historical writing. Despite the wide-ranging geographical focus, key themes are consistently brought out: definition and diagnosis, links between alcohol and crime, the rhetoric of social and economic degeneration, the impact of colonialism and the role of families in alcohol treatment.

Abstract only
Comparative and transnational perspectives on alcohol, psychiatry and society, c. 1500–1991
Waltraud Ernst
Thomas Müller

The Introduction offers a road map for the debate about the relationship between alcohol, psychiatry and society. It identifies how cultural, political and social factors underpinned both medical and public attitudes towards alcohol and drunkenness, and how these changed over time. The ways in which medical ideas about alcohol and its effects were closely bound up with social, cultural and in particular racial attitudes are examined. It is argued that the quests for a definitive nosology of alcohol-related diseases and for therapeutic strategies and public health measures were characterised by both local circumstances and global developments. There is no one single story of the ‘birth of alcoholism as a disease’, nor one single history of how alcohol was represented as a medical, moral and political problem.

in Alcohol, psychiatry and society