Normalitetens gränser : En studie om 1900-talets mentalhygieniska diskurser

by Piuva, Katarina

Abstract (Summary)
The comprehensive aim of the dissertation is to examine how ideas about mental hygiene have been elaborated and debated within the context of Swedish welfare. The dissertation is a compilation of four articles where issues of mental hygiene are examined in detail through an analysis of texts. In addition, a theoretical and methodological framework and a discussion of the concepts of mental health and normality are asserted to the dissertation. The subjects of research are (1) the launching of the movement in USA in the early twentieth, and the autobiographical narrative "A Mind That Found Itself" (Beers 1908), (2) the conception and the evolution of the movement in Sweden, (3) the psychosocial training within the education of social workers between the years 1939 –1989, and (4) the debate about the Mental health Campaign in 1969. The issues of mental hygiene and mental health discussed in the articles are elaborated in relation to the academic disciplines of Sociology of Health and Illness and the History of Public Health. The theoretical approach of these disciplines proceeds from a post-structural and social constructivist perspective of knowledge and language, a perspective also used in the interpretation of the textual materials. The section where the research methods are presented, consists of a description of how the textual materials have been selected and treated in relation to the theoretical and methodological standpoints.The outcome of the investigation of the autobiographical book"A Mind That Found Itself" (Beers 1908) in relation to the launching of the movement in the USA, is that the monomyth-character of the story supported an image of victory and hope, important for the movements aims to improve the reputation of psychiatry. Concerning the launching of the mental hygiene movement in Sweden two important conditions stands out as the course behind the rather hesitant start: the dominant position of custodial care and the antagonistic attitude towards psychoanalytical theories. The study of the psychosocial training of social workers showed how the skills of the clinical gaze were taught to the students by the technique of case-writing. The study of the Mental Health campaign in 1969 showed important divergences concerning the opinions of normality. Since the individual anatomy in the welfare system in Sweden is organised through the individuals position within the labour market, the issues of mental health and allied opinions of normality also contained the risks of exclusion. In conclusion, a comprehensive reflection concerning the results of the studies, is that the concept of mental hygiene, due to the mix of psychiatric and social knowledge, mediated shifting ideas about normality.
Bibliographical Information:


School:Stockholms universitet

School Location:Sweden

Source Type:Doctoral Dissertation

Keywords:SOCIAL SCIENCES; Social sciences; Social work; mental hygiene; public mental health; spychosocial work; normality


Date of Publication:01/01/2005

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