On the legitimacy of psychiatric power

Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 3 (3):315-324 (1982)
Abstract
The author examines the existential, historical, and political roots of psychiatric power, locating them, respectively, in the universality of guilt feelings and the desire to escape them, in psychiatry (replacing religion) as an institution offering surcease from such (and similar disturbing) feelings, and in the alliance, in modern societies, between psychiatry and the state. Clinical psychiatry and psychoanalysis, each in its own distinctive way, have served to legitimize the uses of psychiatric power. Liberty from coercive psychiatry requires destroying the legitimacy, and hence power, of coercive psychiatric principles and practices.
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