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Revista de la Asociación Española de Neuropsiquiatría

On-line version ISSN 2340-2733Print version ISSN 0211-5735


NOVELLA, Enric J.. Five variations and a coda on the cultural history of psychiatry. Rev. Asoc. Esp. Neuropsiq. [online]. 2014, vol.34, n.121, pp.97-114. ISSN 2340-2733.

This article provides a brief overview of the main coordinates framing the invention of psychiatry in the transition from the eighteenth to the nineteenth century. The presented synthesis allows to appreciate to what extent psychological medicine is a distinctive and characteristic product of what modernity and its science have made of madness, and, more specifically, the close relationship of its development with a series of processes that emplace it in at least five broader historiographical contexts: the respective histories of alterity, subjectivity, modern science, biopolitics and cultural criticism. Seen from this perspective, then, the history of psychiatry appears as the crystallization of a vast mutation whereby the traditional figure of the madman has become an immediate and ubiquitous mirror figure of ourselves, namely, a subject simultaneously psychologized, cerebralized, medicalized and split.

Keywords : Psychiatry; Psychological medicine; Madness; Cultural history; Modernity.

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