24 July, 2009

chapter 1 history of madness

this is chapter one of history of madness plese click on the link below for the reading

23 July, 2009

communities on facebook

hi i found these 2 communities on facebook take a look at them :)

this one is called what the foucault

this one is called Critical Psychology, Liberation Psychology, Critical Pedagogy

22 July, 2009

history of madness

Following is the reading for this week. Please click on the essay to download it.

Foucault, Michel. History of Madness

19 July, 2009

Reading to the Preface 1961 Edition

Reading to the Preface of 1961 Edition: The History of Madness

We are inherently mad and by this basis we hope to unravel that specific moment in history when non-madness took over and expelled madness by the logical distinction of reason and unreason. This intriguing binary solely exists on one another by scientifically claiming their independence. In the sense that madness can exist only due to non-madness while reason owes its birth to unreason. And if we are to understand either of them separately or as a unified-binary, one needs to be stripped of his/her predetermined notions on either of them.

The most influential tool used in creating this separation – language. It no longer allows either of them to have a stable platform to appreciate one another; it pushes reason and unreason into two different realms of functioning where any type of communication is considered preposterous. And it is in this –silence- where we can hear only monologues that a discipline like psychiatry is rendered possible.

(Page xviii)

In Pursuit of Mad-"ness"

In Pursuit of Mad-ness

On 12th July 2009, temptation of an unknown cause brought together a few people whose names cannot be mentioned due to my bad memory but who will hopefully make themselves heard through this blog very soon.

In order to de-mystify this unknown cause we began with the question: why are you here? The answer which opened up new portals of ambiguity – in pursuit of madness. We all agreed unanimously that none of us knew what madness was or is, thereof began the Foucauldian journey to stir up what has been camouflaged as “madness”.

Although the above answer pretty much established the tone of our class for the day, several other equally puzzling answers followed, with each of us introspecting to understand this unknown cause that had brought us here.

If madness is pathological, sufferings, unreason or even a positivistic perspective, the only consensus one can come through this is that madness cannot be universalized. But in our modern context, we are not simply suffering but are agonizing over the consequences of universalizing one such impossibility.

From discovering, much to our dismay that Madness and Civilization is not an original Foucault to finding out it’s a compilation from The History of Madness that earned Foucault his PhD, a process that took place between St. Anne’s Hospital where Foucault was being treated by Lacan and the University.

Madness as an integral part of modernity gave way to many suspicions about it being a superficial construction on political terms. It is undisputedly believed that madness makes space for the unreason, the illogical and the like but the ever-green question remains – can there be a logic of the mind? (Aristotle).

We progressed towards investigating science as objective, more importantly as linear in its evolution which endows it with that prestigious title of being objective alongside essential for the modern society. As an example, we explored the concept of Intentionality first proposed by Ponty.


Biologically we are all equipped with the ability to optically view our environment where we see things with our eyes. But we seldom passively look at things, along with simply seeing we are predisposed to “visualize” our surroundings that is translated by our mind instead of the brain. And this process of “visualizing” takes place as a part of the internal mental structures which are products of not just our biological or physical factors. Therefore, we are seeing by the I that each one of us possesses.

This question of intentionality that is not explained by any pure science was raised in Psychoanalysis and once again in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or CBT; therefore one is left to wonder – is science really linear or rather is any progress linear in nature? Something else that is disturbing is when science proclaims its present status as the best status undermining any other possibility from any other discipline.

Modernism: The rise of the categorizers!

Venturing into the manufacturing of such categories through inadequate science the invention of disease and cure, madness and reason etc by themselves seem illogical. Different civilizations have positively differed in their response to be it madness or psychosomatic reactions etc but with the birth of the clinic in 19C began a universal or “objective” methodologies to “treat” them instead of incorporating it into the larger system. A fairly recent example would be the sudden expansion of B-schools who claim to teach “management” or “home science” as an authority to justify your culinary skills thereby giving an illusion that one did not know how to manage “scientifically” before these influential inventions.

We can use the same analogy in order to trace the history to madness – let us not debate for the moment if madness even as heresy was an integral part of a community or not but has our scientifically trained mind equipped appropriately to accommodate madness as an essential part of a given community? Such as the Sufism that celebrates madness in the most positivistic fashion and Hinduism where madness was considered a divine intervention. Peculiar to Hinduism and the rise of the categories which perpetually designed “hindus” from the Bhagvad Gita in 1789 as Warren Hastings required an identity in order to dissolve it.

Modernity thus seeks very desperately to identify, create, and categorize things even if it is to live in a chimera that we have complete understanding of them. Thus, we concluded for the day this course is going to be not just in pursuit of revealing madness but understanding the “ness” in madness as it was and as it is concealed in our glorious days of modernism.

Michel Foucault’s writings:

The History of Madness
  • Birth of The Clinic
  • The Order of Things
  • The Archaeology of Knowledge
  • Discipline and Punish
  • Discipline and Punishment
  • Abnormal
  • History of Sexuality – Three Volumes

Other references made:

  • George Canguilhem – “Normal and the Pathological”
  • Ponty – “Theory of Intentionality”
  • Philosophy of Science
  • Stephen _______________ - “Brain Unconscious”
  • Louis Althusser – “Future Lasts A Long Time”

Preface 1961 Edition - Download


I'm posting a link through which you can access and download the Preface to 1961 Edition. Please click on the below link in order to view it.

The History of Madness

Please post on this blog if the link is not working.

09 July, 2009



Organized by: Dept. of Psychology, Christ University, Bangalore-29

In association with: CUSP-CSCS, Bangalore

Total Hours: 45

Classes on: 2/3 Sundays (full day) of a month (July to Sept- 2009)

Coordinator: Diptarup Chowdhury

Commencement: July 12 (Sunday, 10 am)

Tentative dates: July- 12, 26; Aug- 2, 9; Sept- 6, 13, 20.

Venue: Christ University Campus

Co-instructors: Anup Dhar, Asha Achuthan, Radhika P, Diptarup Chowdhury

Course Overview:

This course will take a critical stock of three of Michel Foucault’s (French philosopher, trained as a clinical psychologist) books – i) History of Madness, ii) Birth of the Clinic, and iii) Abnormal. It would like to see what some of the Foucault’s work do to the discipline of Psychology. Does it introduce new questions in the field of Psychology and inaugurate new ways of attending to mental suffering and mental health? It would also see how unreason was reconstituted as ‘madness’ and ‘threat’ and had, in the process, become the object of control and surveillance. This is of course not to say foucauldian insight as uncontestable truth, but to engage with them critically, even revise them if necessary. This course is not just for Psychology student. It is a course that would be interdisciplinary in nature and would help non-Psychology students by giving them a glimpse of questions in Philosophy- questions pertaining to the dialectic of reason and unreason, control and cure, care and healing, rights and ethics, structure and subjectivity, discourse and phenomenology.

For Admission to the course please contact the Office of Admissions, Main Blk, Christ University.

Course Fees: Rs. 1000 (for Christ Univ students), Rs. 2000 (for general public)

For further information about the course please contact:





Dept. of Psychology at 40129343