Contemporary history of Europe

« Réclamée par sa famille contre l’avis des médecins » : pouvoir et implication des familles de patients dans les processus d’internement psychiatrique à l’asile de Schaerbeek entre 1850 et 1914 ».

This article examines the influence of patients' families in the Schaerbeek asylum for the insane between 1853 and 1914. Through the examination of the institution's medico-administrative registers during four periods of psychiatric internment (admissions, establishment of diagnoses, social relations of the patients, and discharges), the central role played by the patients' entourage in the asylums is revealed. Between high economic capital and favorable legal provisions, families are indeed able to influence the possibilities and modalities of psychiatric internment. However, families' room for manoeuvre is not unlimited. Entries, diagnoses, social relations of patients and discharges are constantly subject to negotiation between the different holders of the asylums' power. Thus, this contribution highlights the way in which the interests of the patients' families clash with those of the asylum's management, the alienist physicians and the public authorities.

Show this publication on our institutional repository (