Reading for November: The Invention of Non-Psychiatry by David Cooper

Join us on Sunday, November 4th for our monthly anarchist bazaar and discussion at Riffraff bookstore + bar (60 Valley Street in Providence, inside The Plant)! We’ll have books and zines for sale from 12pm-4pm and the discussion will start at 2:30pm.

This month we’ll be discussing David Cooper’s The Invention of Non-Psychiatry. A South African-born psychiatrist, Cooper is credited with first using the term “anti-psychiatry” in 1967. The anti-psychiatry movement of the 1960s and 70s formed as a critique of institutionalization and the role of psychiatry and psychoanalysis as tools of repression and social control. Influential writers such as Thomas Szasz and R.D. Laing (both psychiatrists themselves) questioned the growing interpretation of mental illness as a disease of abnormal brain physiology, a view that has become the bedrock of contemporary biomedicine. At the same time, philosophers like Michel Foucault, Gilles Deleuze, and Felix Guattari began to sketch the relationship between psychopathology and the interests of the capitalist power structure.

You can find the reading here. There’s also a brief essay in the margin by Eli Messinger on the history and treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, which we’ll touch on if time permits.

*Note: We’ve had some trouble printing this file so we recommend reading it online for now. We hope to post a printer-friendly version soon!


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