Foucault News

News and resources on French thinker Michel Foucault (1926-1984)

Andrew Scull, Psychiatry and Its Discontents. University of California Press, July 2019

Written by one of the world’s most distinguished historians of psychiatry, Psychiatry and Its Discontents provides a wide-ranging and critical perspective on the profession that dominates the treatment of mental illness. Andrew Scull traces the rise of the field, the midcentury hegemony of psychoanalytic methods, and the paradigm’s decline with the ascendance of biological and pharmaceutical approaches to mental illness. The book’s historical sweep is broad, ranging from the age of the asylum to the rise of psychopharmacology and the dubious triumphs of “community care.” The essays in Psychiatry and Its Discontents provide a vivid and compelling portrait of the recurring crises of legitimacy experienced by “mad-doctors,” as psychiatrists were once called, and illustrates the impact of psychiatry’s ideas and interventions on the lives of those afflicted with mental illness.


1. Introduction: The Travails of Psychiatry

PART 1. The Asylum and Its Discontents
2. The Fictions of Foucault’s Scholarship: Madness and Civilization Revisited
3. The Asylum, the Hospital, and the Clinic
4. A Culture of Complaint: Psychiatry and Its Critics
5. Promises of Miracles: Religion as Science, and Science as Religion

PART 2. Whither Twentieth-Century Psychiatry?
6. Burying Freud
7. Psychobiology, Psychiatry, and Psychoanalysis: The Intersecting Careers of Adolf Meyer, Phyllis Greenacre, and Curt Richter
8. Mangling Memories
9. Creating a New Psychiatry: On the Rockefeller Foundation and the Rise of Academic Psychiatry

PART 3. Transformations and Interpretations
10. Shrinks: Doctor Pangloss
11. The Hunting of the Snark: The Search for a History of Neuropsychiatry
12. Contending Professions: Sciences of Brain and Mind in the United States, 1900–2013

PART 4. Neuroscience and the Biological Turn
13. Trauma
14. Empathy: Reading Other People’s Minds
15. Mind, Brain, Law, and Culture
16. Left Brain, Right Brain, One Brain, Two Brains
17. Delusions of Progress: Psychiatry’s Diagnostic Manual

Andrew Scull is Distinguished Research Professor of Sociology and Science Studies at the University of California, San Diego. He is past president of the Society for the Social History of Medicine and the author of numerous books, including Madness in Civilization, Hysteria, and others.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: