Modern Madness – A critique of corporate/state psychiatry
The chief aim of this presentation is to de-privilege the language of “mental illness,” which is used to contain, control and repress far more often than it is used to help. It will briefly cover historical conceptions of madness and how they have evolved into the modern notion of “mental illness,” relying heavily on Foucault’s interpretation of Enlightenment-era changes to both medicine and the penal system. It will then analyze this notion for its strengths and weaknesses, highlighting the abuses that it systematically engenders, making use of a neo-Marxist interpretation of “mental health” as capital. Finally, it will propose alternative language and approaches, based on an understanding for the continual need for social revolution.
Lyra Schneider is a 25 year old trans-feminine activist for social change, particularly in the field of mental health and control. She founded and presided over the chapter of Active Minds at Macalester College for two years, fighting to increase awareness of psychiatric fallacies and to broaden the conversation surrounding mental health and autonomy of care. She has written and produced a play interrogating the utility of the adolescent psychiatric ward, based on her experience there. She is currently working to acquire her Master of Arts in Teaching, and plans to write her thesis on harassment and assault prevention.