Power in psychiatry. Soviet peer and lay hierarchies in the context of political abuse of psychiatry

A new open-access piece in History of Psychiatry may interest AHP readers: “Power in psychiatry. Soviet peer and lay hierarchies in the context of political abuse of psychiatry,” by Anastassiya Schacht. Abstract:

Soviet political abuse of psychiatry in the Brezhnevite era offers a rich case study of entanglement between various layers, impact spaces, and actors of power. This article discusses two types of discursive power in Soviet psychiatry. One sprang from the madness-affirmative cultural canon, in which dissidents sought their self-legitimation. More prominently, there was the power of psychiatrists within their own hierarchic system. I analyse how the action scopes for psychiatric power varied, depending on whether the recipient was a patient or fellow professional. Here, the inherent hierarchy structured and regulated the peer community and secured the stability of medical practices – and of the political entanglement of these practices and actors with the state-owned places of power.

About Jacy Young

Jacy Young is a professor at Quest University Canada. A critical feminist psychologist and historian of psychology, she is committed to critical pedagogy and public engagement with feminist psychology and the history of the discipline.

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