John Libbey Eurotext

L'Information Psychiatrique


Between utopias and dystopias, the contemporary transformations of psychiatry Volume 93, issue 3, Mars 2017

Association Santé mentale du XIIIe (ASM 13), 11 rue Albert Bayet, 75013 Paris, France
* Correspondance
  • Key words: child psychiatry, history of psychiatry, evolution, management, sociology, epistemology, infantile autism
  • DOI : 10.1684/ipe.2017.1607
  • Page(s) : 177-84
  • Published in: 2017

To describe the contemporary transformations of psychiatry requires borrowing the methods of several different disciplines. Psychiatry must be described in its scientific movement in order to show the progress of knowledge, and knowledge with the help of epistemology and the history of science. It is necessary to describe the evolution of practices and know-how by relying on sociology and the analysis of organizations and work. The social dimension of psychiatry makes it an object for political, social and human sciences. The sociological notion of a field is useful for describing variations in the perimeter of psychiatry. The change in the way we view it translates into changes in the anthropological conceptions of man, humanity, disease and destiny. However, the object of psychiatry is not neutral. Man in his suffering stirs others and his suffering has effects. The humanity of everyone is committed in the suffering of each one of us and the human being is transformed. The expectation of psychiatry is disturbed. Disappointment would be the rule, without the utopias and dystopias, which abound in psychiatry, and manifest the creative tension of a social body seeking to escape the irreducible contradictions of human existence in its most dramatic avatars.