Foreign mental patients in Parisian asylums during the inter-war years ; did they cumulate both mental and social alienation ?

John Ward


This article suggests that french psychiatry in the inter war years was deeply influenced by the growing national feeling predominant en the Paris region. Two aspects of this tendency are discussed on the basis of a revue of the scientific littérature of the period and a study of case files from hospital archives :
- the epistemological and theoretical basis of psychiatrists‚ blindness to the emotional and social implications of the immigrant patient‚s life history ;
- the administrative and practical results of the state policy of bilateral agreements leading to repatriation of foreign patients.
While evidence suggests that the interwar asylum is a profoundly national institution, a strong humanistic base remains predominant both in psychiatrists‚ understanding of eugenics and in the treatment of immigrant patients.

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