Foucault Psychiatric Power Analysis

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In the "Psychiatric power," Foucault has proposed to rethink Philip Pinel’s reform as a precursor of the era of humanism in the 19-century psychiatry, tearing off chains from the mentally ill and putting an end to physical abuse of patients. However, in actual practice, Pinel, and his followers widely used the measures of physical restraint in French hospitals. As a consequence, "it is impossible to link the Pinel's reform with any humanism since all its practices remained riddled with violence," – as Foucault notices in the "Psychiatric Power" (Foucault, 2007, p.14). Almost every scientific article of a Russian psychiatrist in the middle of the 19 - early 20 began with the plot of casting off shackles from the mentally ill as a synonym of…show more content…
The symbol of Pinel’s humanism served as a critical tool for further questioning: how else could one relieve and improve the environment, conditions and permanent needs of patients in a grave reality of asylums’ everyday life? In his famous article "On the problem of no-restraint regime", published after the Ist Congress of the Russian psychiatrists, Sergei Sergeevich Korsakov wrote: "Since the liberation of lunatics has begun, the more knowledge the doctors acquire in the care of the mentally ill and the further science explains the properties and nature of the mental illness, the more the principle of liberation is carried out. The first powerful impetus to it was given in 1792 by Pinel" (Korsakov, 1887, p. 397). As the French psychiatrist, Korsakov offered to consider humane treatment as a subsequent reversal towards the liberation of patients, which consisted of the following components: 1) Welcoming, calm handling of the mentally ill in order to be closer to him/her needs and, first of all, to see him/her as a human and not as a…show more content…
Dranitsin, the restraint leads to low morale in the internal order of hospital, but "to give freedom for the patient within the institution, treat him as a human being and fulfill his desires is actually the true humanity, which would not at all be disturbed by the fact that, if necessary, a strait waistcoat could be applied" (Dranitsin 1887, c. 437). Another psychiatrist from St. Petersburg, P. Y. Rosenbach supposed that abandoning physical violence would undoubtedly be an ideal, which all the psychiatrists should strain after. However, he was surprised by "the claim for the absolute deployment of the non-restraint, exposed by a number of psychiatrists, mostly in Western Europe, as an obligatory clause for a model of a psychiatric institution" (Rosenbach 1887, p. 438). Based on his observations of the foreign experience of psychiatric hospitals in Berlin and London, the author wondered what was better on this model: “The absence of any confinement, but at the same time locking the wild half-naked patients into small isolated rooms with stone floors, covered with decomposed urine?" (Rosenbach 1887, c. 438). The misunderstanding lies in the fact that from the humanistic point of view binding of the patient is considered a flagrant abuse, absolutely unworthy for a
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