[P4750] Psychiatry in the Middle East: Hospitals, Science and Care

Created by Lamia Moghnie
Tuesday, 11/21/17 10:30am


Psychiatry as institution, science, and mode of care has been arguably under-researched in the Middle East. This is despite its wide-ranging and multifaceted historical presence in the region, beginning with the late 19th century establishment of asylums and the employment of psy-concepts and practices in diverse social fields and forms of knowledge production, like pedagogy and colonial ethnography to name a few. Ever since, psychiatry has played a major role in the reconfiguration of normality, subjectivity, and governance, amidst the various social and political transformations that shaped the region.
This panel aims to contribute to recent studies that have begun to fill this lacuna (e.g. Keller 2007, Schayegh 2009, Pandolfo 2009, Mittermaier 2011, El Shakry 2014, Behrouzan 2016) by examining modern and contemporary psychiatry in the Middle East from the 19th century to the present. As these researchers, we also take lead from scholars of psychiatry in the West who have approached it from multiple points of view, documenting its history, scrutinizing its current practices, and critiquing its interventions. Examining the history of psychiatric institutions, therapies, and psy-sciences in the Middle East constitutes a critical site for analyzing how global diagnostics and scientific-moral practices are transformed, contested and appropriated in peripheral places. More recently, psychiatry has moved from the asylum to the clinic and the humanitarian field, further shaping the lived experiences of subjectivity and mental illness. Humanitarian psychiatry (Fassin & Rechtman 2009) became a new form of mediation that adopts psychiatric interventions to treat refugees from violence, displacement, and war. Furthermore, psychiatric care has been legislated with new laws becoming the target of debates on notions of culture and the rights of mental health patients.

This panel investigates psychiatry as an institution, a science, and a mode of care drawing from various anthropological and historical accounts of the Middle East. Collectively, the panel’s papers raise questions like: What is the history, forms, and trajectory of psychiatric institutions in the region? How has the institutionalization of psychiatry transformed understandings and practices on insanity and madness? What ideological and societal roles did (and does) psychiatry as a science play in the region? What contestations to such claims of scientificity have surfaced and how did they have shape the practice and position of psychiatry in the Middle East? What are the modes of care that psychiatry offers and what are their effects on the remodeling of normality, (disordered) subjectivity, and governance?





Christopher T. Dole

(Amherst College)
Panel Participating Role(s): Discussant;

Ana Maria Vinea

(University of Michigan)
Panel Participating Role(s): Organizer; Presenter;

Lamia Moghnie

(EUME, Germany)
Panel Participating Role(s): Organizer; Presenter; Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;

Chris Wilson

(University of Cambridge)
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;

Mac Skelton

(Johns Hopkins University)
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;