Accepted Paper:

Reimagine the 'human' in medicine: 'crisis rhetoric' and the social and political transformation of contemporary psychiatric care  

Author:

Madalena Patriarca (Instituto Ciências Sociais - Universidade Lisboa)

Paper long abstract:

Focusing on the social and political dynamics of psychiatric professionals' working at the Consultation Liaison Psychiatry service of two Portuguese general hospitals in Lisbon, this paper reflects on the rationales which lie behind the crisis and the transformation of contemporary psychiatric care.

Based on ethnographic data we look at the way psychiatrists try to use its knowledge and the social exclusion history of the field in order to discuss a proper social and medical role in the general hospital.

Developing terms such as 'humanization' 'bioethics' or 'biopsycosocial' as ethical and political strategies in their daily life, psychiatrists negotiate with other clinical specialties a holistic interpretation of illness. At the same time they also practice the most up to date biomedical treatment of psychiatric disorders. The surprising effect is one of bring to the forefront of medicine, as well as of anthropology, old debates on what it means to be human.

Panel W106
Crisis and resolution: imagination and the transformation of psychiatric care