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Title: An investigation of the relationship of Soviet psychiatry to the State
Author: Spencer, Ian Henry
ISNI:       0000 0001 3474 3193
Awarding Body: University of Glasgow
Current Institution: University of Glasgow
Date of Award: 1997
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This thesis examines how Soviet psychiatry took the particular form that it did and how it had a historically specific relationship to the state. Psychiatry in the USSR was used by the state against those who opposed the regime. In particular it was used after the death of Stalin against a dissident intelligentsia. Chapter One examines the position of the Soviet psychiatric patient with relation to the political economy of the USSR. The legal position of the psychiatric patient was a precarious one because the absence of private property meant there was no basis for law. It was possible to co-opt doctors as repressive agents of the state because they were dependent on it in a way which their counterparts in the West were not. Chapter Two examines the historical development of Russian and Soviet psychiatry and assesses the importance of its development under tsarism. The point at which Soviet psychiatry became differentiated from world psychiatry is located in the Stalin period. Chapter Three examines the role played by Soviet psychology and the supposed influence of Marxism-Leninism in shaping psychiatry in the USSR. It is argued that Soviet psychology owed nothing to Marxism but that it was distorted in a similar way to other branches of science. Chapter Four discusses the defective nature of Soviet psychiatry and shows how Soviet political economy led to archaic practice in psychiatry. All Soviet medicine was similarly defective and this had serious consequences for the Soviet population as a whole. Chapter Five examines the role that psychiatry played in repressing the dissident movement in the 1960s and 70s. Psychiatry was used as an ameliorated form of the labour camp at a time when mass killings and labour camps were less useful to the elite. Psychiatry played this role from about 1953 until 1988 and was used mostly against the intelligentsia.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry ; DK Russia. Soviet Union. Former Soviet Republics