Foucault quote: The book experience

Foucault News

When I wrote [History of Madness], in Poland in 1958, antipsychiatry didn’t exist in Europe, and in any case it wasn’t an attack on psychiatry for the very good reason that the book stops at the very start of the nineteenth century – I don’t even fully examine the work of Etienne Esquirol. Despite all this, the book has continued to figure in the public mind as being an attack on contemporary psychiatry. Why? Because for me – and for those who read it and used it – the book constituted a transformation in the historical, theoretical, and moral or ethical relationship we have with madness, the mentally ill, the psychiatric institution, and the very truth of psychiatric discourse. So it’s a book that functions as an experience, for its writer and reader alike, much more than as the establishment of a historical truth. For one to be…

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