At a time when electroconvulsive therapy, lobotomy and insulin induced coma were the only language spoken by the psychiatric institutions, the ‘talking cure’ envisaged by the anti-psychiatric school embodied by David Cooper (who coined the term in *Psychiatry and Anti-Psychiatry*, 1971; *The Language of Madness*, 1980), Thomas Szasz (*The Myth of Mental Illness*, 1972) and R.D. Laing, attempted to find new ways to ‘read’ and represent the language of schizophrenia, bringing to the fore the fact that rather than the incomprehensible and incoherent speech it had always been considered as, the language of schizophrenics represented an altogether different and individual symbolic system which could be interpreted and decoded. The aim of this article is therefore to see how the language of psychiatry, and the representation it gave of the language of schizophrenia, has changed in accordance to the new approach to mental illness entailed by what we can loosely refer to as the anti-psychiatric school of thought. In order to do this, I shall analyse in the first place the language spoken by psychiatric institutions and patients as represented for instance in the novel *One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest*, published by Ken Kesey’s in 1962 (together with its intersemiotic translation realised in 1975 by Miloš Forman), and the documentary *Mental: A History of the Madhouse*, produced by the BBC in collaboration with The Open University and directed by Chris Boulding in 2010. These are two products which, despite the lapse of time elapsing between their production and the different premises from which they move (the former being openly fictional, the latter positing itself as an account which, in spite of being obviously subjected to the narrativisation imposed by the medium, claims a stronger bond with raw reality), often bring to life the same reality. Following this, I shall take into consideration the language of schizophrenics as reported for example in some of Laing’s major works (*The Divided Self*, 1964, and *The Poetics of Experience and the Bird of Paradise*, 1967, in particular), and partially reproduced in the documentary *Asylum* realised by Peter Robinson in 1972, which enters my analysis as a loose intersemiotic translation of the former.

From Psychiatry to Anti-Psychiatry: An Intersemiotic Journey through the Language of Schizophrenia / Michela Canepari. - In: LA TORRE DI BABELE. - ISSN 1724-3114. - (2012), pp. 297-337.

From Psychiatry to Anti-Psychiatry: An Intersemiotic Journey through the Language of Schizophrenia

CANEPARI, Michela
2012

Abstract

At a time when electroconvulsive therapy, lobotomy and insulin induced coma were the only language spoken by the psychiatric institutions, the ‘talking cure’ envisaged by the anti-psychiatric school embodied by David Cooper (who coined the term in *Psychiatry and Anti-Psychiatry*, 1971; *The Language of Madness*, 1980), Thomas Szasz (*The Myth of Mental Illness*, 1972) and R.D. Laing, attempted to find new ways to ‘read’ and represent the language of schizophrenia, bringing to the fore the fact that rather than the incomprehensible and incoherent speech it had always been considered as, the language of schizophrenics represented an altogether different and individual symbolic system which could be interpreted and decoded. The aim of this article is therefore to see how the language of psychiatry, and the representation it gave of the language of schizophrenia, has changed in accordance to the new approach to mental illness entailed by what we can loosely refer to as the anti-psychiatric school of thought. In order to do this, I shall analyse in the first place the language spoken by psychiatric institutions and patients as represented for instance in the novel *One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest*, published by Ken Kesey’s in 1962 (together with its intersemiotic translation realised in 1975 by Miloš Forman), and the documentary *Mental: A History of the Madhouse*, produced by the BBC in collaboration with The Open University and directed by Chris Boulding in 2010. These are two products which, despite the lapse of time elapsing between their production and the different premises from which they move (the former being openly fictional, the latter positing itself as an account which, in spite of being obviously subjected to the narrativisation imposed by the medium, claims a stronger bond with raw reality), often bring to life the same reality. Following this, I shall take into consideration the language of schizophrenics as reported for example in some of Laing’s major works (*The Divided Self*, 1964, and *The Poetics of Experience and the Bird of Paradise*, 1967, in particular), and partially reproduced in the documentary *Asylum* realised by Peter Robinson in 1972, which enters my analysis as a loose intersemiotic translation of the former.
From Psychiatry to Anti-Psychiatry: An Intersemiotic Journey through the Language of Schizophrenia / Michela Canepari. - In: LA TORRE DI BABELE. - ISSN 1724-3114. - (2012), pp. 297-337.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11381/2386998
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