FREEDOM IS THERAPEUTIC? RADICAL PSYCHIATRY AND THE ASYLUM SYSTEM IN ITALY, 1961-1978
Shoreditch Town Hall, 25 June 2014
(Prof John Foot)
Psychiatric health care in Italy in the twentieth century was based around large institutions known as asylums. These institutions were custodial and actual treatment was rare. In the 1960s a movement emerged which argued for the reform of these institutions. This movement was led by a psychiatrist called Franco Basaglia (1924-1980) who transformed the asylum of Gorizia into a model therapeutic community with open door policies, general meetings and the handing over of power to the patients. This movement then spread across Italy and engaged in dialogue with radical psychiatrists and others in the UK, the USA, France and elsewhere. This talk will look at the history of this movement and its legacy in terms of mental health care in Italy and elsewhere today.
Prof John Foot is Professor of Modern Italian History in the Department of Italian, University of Bristol. His recent publications include Modern Italy (2nd edition, 2014) and Pedalare. Pedalare. A History of Italian Cycling (2011). His book on Franco Basaglia and radical psychiatry in Italy will be published in Italian by Feltrinelli in 2014 and in the UK by Verso in 2015.