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international bordercamp strasbourg

Anti-psychiatry and social control

this item is available in: [en] [fr]

07.Jul.02 - note: There is still no date fixed for the workshop "anti-psychiatry", but it will take place!.
We can already announce:
- a table of info/press about the subject, probably under the tent of "medical team"
- a contribution about the antipsychiatry in the general debate on the "social control" at Thursday , July 25 in the evening
- a meeting in the beginning of camps (announced in the "info-tent "), to see the envy for each and the possible dates of this workshop.

We believe that thinking about medical and psychiatric means of control is part of a wider process of questioning institutions and techniques of social control. The logic of medical care and assistance induces manipulative power relationships involving thousands of individuals.

Psychiatric institutions establish and reproduce forms of exclusion, dependence and alienation in a large number of patients. The violence of yesterday's mental asylum has not vanished from today's psychiatric wards: thousands of people are interned every year without consent (mandatory committal and committal at the behest of a third party) and/or are subjected to heavy medication on the grounds that they are "dangerous" or in the interests of their "mental well-being". The circumstances in which different mental health service users live remain painful: they must confront by powerful institutions and manipulative expertise. Two types of individual are targeted by psychiatric policy: firstly, "deviant" or "dangerous" people who pose a threat to the established social order and its dominant values; secondly, people in a situation of socio-economic or intra-personal exclusion.

By questioning the nature of mental sickness, we can consider health and social relations in a new light. By criticizing psychiatric norms and models, dominant representations of "normal" and pathological behaviour may be reassessed. Indeed, the mental care concept of "normality" corresponds to a notion of psychological, intra-personal and social adaptability which is nothing less than a form of acceptance of patterns of domination and alienation.

Anti-psychiatry movements have experimented with practices aiming to socialize and collectively manage "suffering" and health, and designed to struggle against the root-causes of our alienation, which are capitalism and the patriarchal nature of society.

Though such experiments remain marginal, they demonstrate that a different approach to "illness" is possible, especially when anti-psychiatry organizes politically.

For these reasons and in order to generate a collective thinking-process with groups and individuals interested in the wider issue of social control, people involved in French and Italian anti-psychiatry groups would like to propose that time is made for exchange and debate on this issue. According to the relative energy- and interest-levels amongst camp participants, we would like to suggest that informal discussion groups are set-up and, if possible, a debate is organized on social control issues seen from a psychiatric point of view. This should also cover available forms of resistance and struggle, as well as alternatives models.