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  • Ur galen synvinkel? Om inlevelsens gränser och psykiatrihistoria ur patientperspektiv

    Annika Berg

    Chapter from the book: Bergwik, S et al. 2022. Konsten att kontextualisera: Om historisk förståelse och meningsskapande.


    From a crazy point of view? On the limits of inlevelse and the history of psychiatry from the patient’s perspective

    This chapter deals with challenges encountered when writing history of psychiatry from a patients’ perspective, using source material at least partially produced by patients. More fundamentally, it discusses the tension between, on the one hand, the problem of other minds, e.g. the impossibility of “getting into the head” of another living being, on the other hand, the historian's irrefutable need to try to understand how the world appeared to historical actors – even though their lives may have been very different from her own. This tension may be particularly well illustrated by attempts to study psychiatry from the patients' point of view, but it also entails a more general dilemma. The chapter criticizes inlevelse, a word that connotes a very strong experience of “walking in someone else’s shoes”, as an unattainable methodological ideal that, if taken at face value, would ultimately render all historical research impossible. In arguing for a more skeptical view on the possibility to pinpoint the situated viewpoints of other people, the author suggests that the work involved in trying to do this should be seen as a process of contextualization – albeit not the only kind of contextualization needed.

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    How to cite this chapter
    Berg, A. 2022. Ur galen synvinkel? Om inlevelsens gränser och psykiatrihistoria ur patientperspektiv. In: Bergwik, S et al (eds.), Konsten att kontextualisera. Stockholm: Stockholm University Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.16993/bbt.h

    This is an Open Access chapter distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (unless stated otherwise), which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Copyright is retained by the author(s).

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    Published on April 12, 2022


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