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The Manufacture of Madness
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The Manufacture of Madness

3.96 of 5 stars 3.96  ·  rating details  ·  133 ratings  ·  10 reviews
s/t: A Comparative Study of the Inquisition & the Mental Health Movement
In this seminal work, Dr. Szasz examines the similarities between the Inquisition and institutional psychiatry. His purpose is to show "that the belief in mental illness and the social actions to which it leads have the same moral implications and political consequences as had the belief in witchcr
Paperback, 426 pages
Published March 1st 1997 by Syracuse University Press (first published 1970)
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Erik Graff
Jan 01, 2014 Erik Graff rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: psychology
This book really is a comparison between modern institutional psychiatry and the inquisitions against witches and Szasz manages four hundred pages of such without becoming overly redundant or facile.

The predication of "psychiatry" as "institutional" is vital to Szasz' arguments. Himself a psychoanalytically trained psychiatrist, he has no problems with voluntary contracts between individuals. What exercises his ire is coercion, stigmatization and the confusion of categories.

The primary categoric
A free thinker's delight. What Szasz says in essense is that social engineering is no more fun from a modern and secular/"scientific" world view than it was from a religious/"moral" world view. The problem with the "enlightened" perspective (in power) down through the ages remains. The right and responsible people need witches and madmen to justify their rightousness and they need jails torture and death sentences to justify their resonsibility. A must read for anyone who has ever been incarcera ...more
David Gross
This book shows how the “mentally ill” category serves as a form of social control that has evolved directly from the category of “heretic.” Although psychiatry uses the language of medicine, it has been more commonly used as a justification for the involuntary incarceration and remolding of behavioral deviants. The “diseases” that psychiatry discovers are defined not by their nature as medical pathology, but by their behavioral symptoms which are defined as “disease” in order to prohibit or sup ...more
Fantastic and complex read.
Joseph Newton
Interesting study of the role of the scapegoat in society across time and space. The author's central argument is that the inquisition never ended, but morphed into what we know today as Institutional psychiatry. The inquisitor of yesterday is today's institutional psychiatrist. The game remains the same, only the players have changed, or changed names atleast. "Just as the Inquisition was the characteristic abuse of Christianity, so Institutional Psychiatry is the characteristic abuse of medici ...more
Oct 12, 2007 Donald rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone
"The Manufacture Of Madness" and "The Myth Of Mental Illness" are two of the most intriguing non-fiction books of the late twentieth century. Dr. Thomas Szasz presents a compelling argument that modern psychiatry has become all too accustomed to labeling any inconvenient behavior as an "illness." Exactly who decides what is "normal?" This book is wordy and difficult to wade through in parts, but Szasz makes his points well and his arguments are difficult to discard. This book would make an espec ...more
Possibly the biggest influence on me, career wise, so far, in that it made me want to be almost anything other than directly involved with the practice of Psychology/Psychiatry
Tanya Van
Detailed and facsinating history of the medicalisation of non conformity.
Jul 11, 2008 Laura marked it as to-read
Heard about this in class, 7/8/08
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Thomas Stephen Szasz (pronounced /sas/; born April 15, 1920 in Budapest, Hungary) is a psychiatrist and academic. He is Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry at the State University of New York Health Science Center in Syracuse, New York. He is a prominent figure in the antipsychiatry movement, a well-known social critic of the moral and scientific foundations of psychiatry, and of the social control a ...more
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