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Retrieving alternatives. Pluralism in practice in European psychiatry, 1950-1980

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Psychiatric Pracites

This transnational project lays the foundations for the history of psychiatric practices at the time of the rise of modern psychopharmacology. Focusing on the diversity of Continental Europe’s post-war psychiatry will challenge both the biological-Kraepelinian paradigm (with its drug-related diagnostic and therapeutic corollaries) and its side-lined “alternatives” in diagnosis, therapy, and physician-patient relationships.

Case Studies

Using enhanced quantitative and qualitative methodologies, this study will reconstruct the clinical activities in five psychiatric settings in Europe, representative of the broad spectrum of the “spaces of alternatives” composing the psychiatric panorama of the time:

Reconstructing Heterogenous Psychiatric Practices

Combining analysis of patient files, institutional records, and specialist discourses will lead to a finer-textured picture of the variety of psychiatric practices comprising interaction techniques, diagnostic and therapeutic strategies, and institutional routines.

Reconstructing the pluralism will help reinforce the reflexivity of contemporary psychiatric practices and mental health professionals in continental Europe. In consequence, re-examining the diversity in European psychiatry will also give insight into what we may call the European exercise of pluralism.


Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterinnen:
Dr. Gundula Gahlen
Henriette Voelker

Laufzeit: 2019 - 2022

Förderung: DFG/ANR

Projektleitung: Prof. Dr. Volker Hess