Hörberg, U., Dahlberg, K.
Caring potentials in the shadows of power, correction, and discipline-Forensic psychiatric care in the light of the work of Michel Foucault
(2015) International Journal of Qualitative Studies on Health and Well-being, 10, art. no. 28703.
The aim of this article is to shed light on contemporary forensic psychiatric care through a philosophical examination of the empirical results from two lifeworld phenomenological studies from the perspective of patients and carers, by using the French philosopher Michel Foucault’s historical-philosophical work. Both empirical studies were conducted in a forensic psychiatric setting. The essential results of the two empirical studies were reexamined in a phenomenological meaning analysis to form a new general structure in accordance with the methodological principles of Reflective Lifeworld Research. This general structure shows how the caring on the forensic psychiatric wards appears to be contradictory, in that it is characterized by an unreflective (non-)caring attitude and contributes to an inconsistent and insecure existence. The caring appears to have a corrective approach and thus lacks a clear caring structure, a basic caring approach that patients in forensic psychiatric services have a great need of. To gain a greater understanding of forensic psychiatric caring, the new empirical results were further examined in the light of Foucault’s historical-philosophical work. The philosophical examination is presented in terms of the three meaning constituents: Caring as correction and discipline, The existence of power, and Structures and culture in care. The philosophical examination illustrates new meaning nuances of the corrective and disciplinary nature of forensic psychiatric care, its power, and how this is materialized in caring, and what this does to the patients. The examination reveals embedded difficulties in forensic psychiatric care and highlights a need to revisit the aim of such care. © 2015 U. Hörberg & K. Dahlberg.
Caring science; Forensic psychiatric care; Foucault; Philosophical examination