Bad Souls: Madness and Responsibility in Modern Greece by Elizabeth Anne Davis

By Elizabeth Anne Davis

Bad Souls is an ethnographic examine of accountability between psychiatric sufferers and their caregivers in Thrace, the northeastern borderland of Greece.

Elizabeth Anne Davis examines accountability during this rural quarter during the lens of nationwide psychiatric reform, a procedure designed to shift remedy from custodial hospitals to outpatient settings. Challenged to assist take care of themselves, sufferers struggled to operate in groups that regularly appeared as a lot assets of psychological pathology as websites of safe haven.

Davis files those patients' singular event of group, and their ambivalent aspirations to healthiness, as they grappled with new kinds of autonomy and dependency brought by means of psychiatric reform. deliberate, funded, and overseen mostly through the eu Union, this "democratic experiment," one of the reforms followed by way of Greece due to the fact that its accession to the ecu within the early Nineteen Eighties, has led Greek voters to query the nation and its management of human rights, social welfare, and schooling.

Exploring the healing dynamics of analysis, persuasion, therapeutic, and failure in Greek psychiatry, Davis lines the terrains of fact, tradition, and freedom that emerge from this wondering of the kingdom on the borders of Europe.

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Sample text

Many newcomers to the psychiatric profession in the 1970s, after the junta, arrived with an investment in the human rights of patients and a commitment to the practice of critical psychiatry originated by their radical counterparts in Great Britain and Italy. Some told me they had chosen the psychiatric specialty precisely because this “backward” branch of medicine had the worst reputation for abuses of power. 6 In the late 1970s, this freshly politicized community of doctors put together a number of policy proposals and pilot projects for new psychiatric services targeted to the underserved rural populations of Macedonia and Thrace.

41 Delays in reform were attributed in this way to the managerial disorganization and instrumental irrationality of Greek medical experts and administrators who, despite this reprimand, continued to miss important targets and deadlines. 42 At that time, the evaluation committee appointed in July 1988 had not submitted a single report. 43 The commission moved to “postpone indefinitely” the approval of new psychiatric projects in December 1989. 44 In its report of 1990, the Court of Auditors found in the Greek contribution to psychiatric reform “a high level of improvisation and the absence of any precise preparation of the investments to be financed,” a problem the auditors regretted that Greece had not redressed by enlisting the expertise of commission members.

The poorest region in mainland Greece, the most rural, the most eastern, and the most “backward,” 40 pREluDE Thrace presented the greatest apparent need for reform. Early experiments therefore targeted the region, creating alternative services in the public and the private sectors, years before policy changes transpired at the national level. The key figures in psychiatric reform compose a small circle in Thrace. Several of the current generation of senior academic psychiatrists at the University of Thrace attended medical school in Athens during the late 1970s, moving to Alexandroupolis in the early 1980s for their residencies in order to work with Sakellaropoulos, then the director of the university psychiatry clinic.

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