John Foot, Univeristy of Bristol
April 12, 2018, (4:00-5:30 pm; Page Hall 20)
By the early 1960s, some 100,000 people were being ‘treated’ inside large, custodial, psychiatric hospitals in Italy. Yet, within twenty years, a law had been passed which would close down this system altogether. How did this transformation happen in the understanding of mental health care and mental illness? This talk looks at the alliance of radical psychiatrists, patients, nurses and activists who challenged the system and looked to ‘free’ the patients from the asylum system. It analyses the theory and practice of the movement, and its contradictions, as well as its local and global connections. Finally, it examines the legacy of the movement and its reforms. Was ‘freedom’, as was often said at the time, ‘therapeutic’?