By Caroline Knowles
What occurs while the mad are let loose of the asylum and there's nowhere for them to head? This hard-hitting and arguable new booklet lines the phrases on which the mad occupy the city's streets, homeless shelters, procuring centres and quickly meals retailers. This social geography of insanity is located in the broader parameters of structures of social welfare and globalization, arguing that the 'community psychological well-being care' approach is de facto a approach of overlook. Bedlam at the Streets is a richly textured ethnography combining stark photographic photos of individuals and locations with an exam of urban area and the voices of these that we label ''mad''.
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Additional info for Bedlam on the Streets
Eighty per cent of its population is urban-based and one-third of this is concentrated in Montréal itself (Health Services and Promotion Branch of Health and Welfare Canada 1990: 113). New social forces and patterns occupy the spaces once built for the monuments of religion and industry. Quite different, new, lives are lived and turned into stories in the spaces once occupied by old ones: but, as we shall see, ‘what came earlier continues to underpin what follows’ (Lefebvre 1996: 229) in terms of architectural legacies and the restructuring of welfare so that the needs of certain sectors of the population call less upon state provision and the interface between church and state shifts once more.
He eventually decides that he doesn’t need to understand but simply accept. For my own part, I have tried as far as possible to stand in the position of those whose lives we seek to understand. As my job was to co-ordinate the research rather than do it all myself – although I couldn’t write this without doing some of it – my own horror, incomprehension and sympathy is sometimes vicarious and sometimes visceral. My office was the place where the interviewers deposited their feelings and stories along with the tapes and transcripts.
With decarceration, psychiatry relinquished its former custodial role in the social management of madness in favour of the new therapeutic order of the ‘brief encounter’. In this model patients were treated in outpatient departments. Only acute episodes required brief hospitalization followed by stabilization and release. Developments in neuroleptic medication made the long-distance chemical management of madness possible. This restructuring of psychiatric services so that treatment and psychiatric expertise remained inside the hospital with care, management and storage being down-loaded onto the outside of the hospital is a process that is still gaining momentum in Québéc as elsewhere.