From social pathologies to individual psyches: Psychiatry navigating socio-political currents in 20th-century Latvia

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4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The paper explores psychiatry's responses to the twentieth-century socio-political currents in Latvia by focusing on social objectives, clinical ideologies, and institutional contexts of Soviet mental health care. The tradition of German biological psychiatry in which Baltic psychiatrists had been trained blended well with the materialistic monism of Soviet psychoneurology. Pavlov's teaching of the second signal system was well suited to Soviet ideological needs: speech stimuli were seen as a vehicle for moulding the individual's mind. The transformation in diagnostic practices during the 1970s and 1980s reflected the demise of optimism about the capacity of the self to model itself to the needs of the society. Latvian psychiatry was prepared to embrace more individualistic and pessimistic theories of the self.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20-39
Number of pages20
JournalHistory of Psychiatry
Volume22
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2011

Keywords

  • 20th century
  • Dispensary system in health care
  • Latvia
  • psychiatric nosology
  • psychiatry
  • psychoprophylaxis
  • Soviet psychoneurology

Field of Science

  • 3.2 Clinical medicine

Publication Type

  • 1.1. Scientific article indexed in Web of Science and/or Scopus database

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