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Pick, D. (1986). The Anatomy of Madness. Essays in the History of Psychiatry: 2 volumes. Edited by W. F. Bynum, Roy Porter, and Michael Shepherd. London: Tavistock. 1985.. Int. R. Psycho-Anal., 13:496-498.
   

(1986). International Review of Psycho-Analysis, 13:496-498

The Anatomy of Madness. Essays in the History of Psychiatry: 2 volumes. Edited by W. F. Bynum, Roy Porter, and Michael Shepherd. London: Tavistock. 1985.

Review by:
Daniel Pick

Psychoanalysts will no doubt find themselves in strong disagreement with certain contributions in this new two volume collection of essays, The Anatomy of Madness, but they will also find much of historical and conceptual interest. In their introductory remarks the editors insist on the need for methodological pluralism and reject the reductionist quest for a single definitive 'anatomy' of psychiatry. Darwin himself, we learn in an interesting chapter, was disappointed in his keen search for the distinguishing physiognomy of madness: the belief that psychiatry has but one (benign or oppressive) face is found here to be equally illusory. Indeed so-called 'anti-psychiatry's' desire for a total repudiation and denunciation of all psychiatry is itself anatomized and repudiated in so far as it has glossed over historical complexity and difference. The (romantic) abstraction of that body of work constitutes, as it were, the interlocutor of the editorial discussion.

We have opted for breadth, believing that catholicity of method, viewpoint, and perhaps especially time-span, are all eye-opening … we must also avoid seeing the saga of 'madhouses, maddoctors and madmen' as if it were—as certain Foucaultians and antipsychiatrists hint—nothing other than a dire tale of irresistible penetration by the psychiatric gaze, relentless steps in the formation of what the Castels have denounced as the 'psychiatric society'.

Foucault had set out in Madness and Civilization (Tavistock, 1971), to produce not a history of psychiatry, but an archaeology of the silence of the mad.

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