Gail Hornstein 'Who owns the mind?'

'Sites of Conflict' Seminar Series


For more than 200 years, psychiatrists have claimed authority over mental life. They have drawn and redrawn the lines between "normal" and "abnormal" thoughts, feelings, and perceptions, and fought to legitimate their views within medicine and society. But at every point in psychiatry's history, patients have fought back with their own ideas about madness and treatment. The closing of public mental institutions across the US, UK, and Europe over the past 25 years has made it possible for current and former psychiatric patients to join together in an international political movement whose approaches now rival those of psychiatrists. Assumptions about diagnostic frameworks, a "biological basis" for mental illness, and the effectiveness of drug treatment are increasingly under attack as people with first-hand experience of madness develop their own strikingly effective theories and methods.


Gail A. Hornstein is Professor of Psychology at Mount Holyoke College (USA) and the author of many articles in professional journals and the widely praised biography of the pioneering psychiatrist Frieda Fromm-Reichmann, To Redeem One Person is to Redeem the World. Hornsteinís Bibliography of First-Person Narratives of Madness in English (now in its 4th edition) lists more than 600 titles, and her new book, Agnesís Jacket: A Psychologistís Search for the Meanings of Madness shows how the ideas of the psychiatric survivor movement can radically reconceive fundamental assumptions about madness and mental life.

Wednesday 14th January 3.30 - 5pm Room 204 Clore Management Centre