Antipschiatry: Quackery Squared

Overview

More than fifty years ago, Thomas Szasz showed that the concept of mental illness-a disease of the mind-is an oxymoron, a metaphor, a myth. Disease, in the medical sense, affects only the body. He also demonstrated that civil commitment and the insanity defense, the paradigmatic practices of psychiatry, are incompatible with the political values of personal responsibility and individual liberty. The psychiatric establishment's rejection of Szasz's critique posed no danger to his work: its defense of coercions and...

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Overview

More than fifty years ago, Thomas Szasz showed that the concept of mental illness-a disease of the mind-is an oxymoron, a metaphor, a myth. Disease, in the medical sense, affects only the body. He also demonstrated that civil commitment and the insanity defense, the paradigmatic practices of psychiatry, are incompatible with the political values of personal responsibility and individual liberty. The psychiatric establishment's rejection of Szasz's critique posed no danger to his work: its defense of coercions and excuses as "therapy" supported his argument regarding the metaphorical nature of mental illness and the transparent immorality of brutal psychiatric control masquerading as humane medical care. In the late 1960s, the launching of the so-called antipsychiatry movement vitiated Szasz's effort to present a precisely formulated conceptual and political critique of the medical identity of psychiatry and of psychiatric coercions and excuses. Led by the Scottish psychiatrist R. D. Laing, the antipsychiatrists used the term to attract attention to themselves and deflect attention from what they did, which included coercions and excuses based on psychiatric principles and power. For this reason, Szasz rejected, and continues to reject, psychiatry and antipsychiatry with equal vigor. Subsuming his work under the rubric of antipsychiatry betrays and negates it just as surely and effectively as subsuming it under the rubric of psychiatry. In Antipsychiatry: Quackery Squared, Szasz powerfully argues that his writings belong to neither psychiatry nor antipsychiatry. They stem from conceptual analysis, social-political criticism, and common sense. Thomas Szasz is professoremeritus of psychiatry at the State University of New York Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, New York. His books include Law, Liberty, and Psychiatry, The Manufacture of Madness, Ideology and Insanity, Ceremonial Chemistry, The Myth of Psychotherapy, Psychiatry, and The Medicalization of Everyday Life, all published by Syracuse University Press.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780815609438
  • Publisher: Syracuse University Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/2009
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 1,503,517
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Thomas Szasz is professor emeritus of psychiatry at the State University of New York Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, New York. His books include Law, Liberty, and Psychiatry, The Manufacture of Madness, Ideology and Insanity, Ceremonial Chemistry, The Myth of Psychotherapy, Psychiatry, and The Medicalization of Everyday Life, all published by Syracuse University Press.

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Table of Contents

Preface: What Is Antipsychiatry?

Introduction What Antipsychiatry Is Not 1

1 Antipsychiatrie: Querulantenwahnsinn 8

2 Antipsychiatry: Alternative Psychiatry 25

3 The Doctor of Irresponsibility 59

4 The Trickster and the Tricked 86

5 Antipsychiatry and Anti-Art 113

6 Antipsychiatry Abroad 124

Epilogue: The Accursed Legacy of Antipsychiatry 148

Afterword: Freedom from Violence and Lies 152

Notes 163

Bibliography 177

Index 183

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