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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Manufacturing the Madness Industry, 16 Sep 2012
By 
Dr. Delvis Memphistopheles "FIST" (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: History of Madness (Paperback)
Takes a Nietzschean geneological approach to looking at how madness has been perceived by the social world at different stages, demarcating the "other" in terms of reason and rationale. Therefore madness has formed as an appropriate foil to its opposite, the sanity of the socially included and there it has remained.

Shifting from the medieval period where he looks at Bosch and the "Ship of Fools" to Erasmus, then onto the Renaissance, the early modern period, Freud and onwards. Foucault has shown how madness, is a problem of adjusting to the social norms of an era, all created to demarcate what is acceptable and what is not.

At first madness was related to the passions, people involved in too much of the emotional vices- gluttony, hoarding, debauchery, too little piousness, and a host of otherx. Only later did it become a medical condition. Foucault traces how the thought structures remained the same, only the language and who becomes the subject has changed. Protestantism brought about a major seismological shift amongst the rich when reflecting upon the poor. No longer perceived as being the throng in which a potential Christ existed, now they were people castigated by God as being the unclean and useless. Therefore they needed to be coralled away from those who they could taint. The poor, diseased and the mad were then placed in former monastic buildings where they were overseen for their own good. The 17th Century saw one tenth of the Parisian population incarcertated in a mad house. Morality was then applied to make these wretches into better people.

The range of "conditions" are constantly shifting, hysteria, neurasthenia were two huge concerns in 1900 both related to physical beliefs located in the womb and the head.

Neither have any credence within the 21stC where genes rule the roost, a creed that was smashed in 1945 has been revitalised as behaviourism and the other beliefs to regulate mal adapted behaviour- insulin shock injections, ECT, Lobotomy, Serotonin enhancers, have all failed to deliver the magical results.

Therefore in order to unpick the madness of institutions and beliefs this book is essential. This version is the unabridged one which contains everything. It requires considerable background knowledge about literature, art, psychology, psychotherapy and a host of other subjects. So either it will be an education in itself via Wiki or Google - or it will be a huge turn off, impenetrable.

If you can stick with it, as he brings a whole vista into play,
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1 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for philosophy historians., 14 May 2010
By 
Mr. K. Wright "Mr K" (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: History of Madness (Paperback)
This is a very challenging and influential text by Foucault. This has to be considered as a philosophers must read given its coverage of institutions, social science and history of philosophy.
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History of Madness
History of Madness by Michel Foucault (Paperback - 19 Mar 2009)
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