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Complicities and ambivalences of psychiatry: Münsterlingen and the 1954 feast of fools

Abstract : In March 1954, Foucault visited the psychiatric asylum of Münsterlingen (Canton Thurgau), on the Swiss side of Lake Constance. Münsterlingen was the chosen place of activity for well-known psychiatrists, including Hermann Rorschach (1910-1913), and it became famous in the history of psychiatry especially through the work of Roland Kuhn, who was active in the asylum from 1939 to 1979. Kuhn was an expert in the Rorschach psycho-diagnostic test, as well as the discoverer of the first antidepressant in the early 1950s. He was also very close to Ludwig Binswanger, whose anthropological approach to mental illness had a strong influence on his own psychiatric practice. It is precisely in order to meet Kuhn and Binswanger that the young Foucault went to Switzerland, at a time when he was interested in philosophical anthropology and “existential psychopathology”. Foucault’s visit took place during the Carnival at the asylum, when the patients leave the hospital wearing the masks that they have made up and created.
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https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-02165296
Contributor : Elisabetta Basso <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, June 25, 2019 - 5:33:32 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, May 4, 2021 - 1:14:02 PM

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Elisabetta Basso. Complicities and ambivalences of psychiatry: Münsterlingen and the 1954 feast of fools. médecine/sciences, EDP Sciences, 2017, 33 (1), pp.99-104. ⟨10.1051/medsci/20173301019⟩. ⟨halshs-02165296⟩

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