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Sociology, a different look at psychiatric practices


Sociologists have been relatively infrequent in the debates that animated psychiatry in recent years. This relative absence can be explained by some disaffection of French sociology for this research topic for almost three decades. The 1970s had been marked by a number of important works, such as Michel Foucault and Robert Castel. Published in a context of major challenges to psychiatry and major psychanalysis influence, this work focused on the study of power reports and social control. Some had a strong resonance beyond philosophy or sociology, even among psychiatrists. Moreover, they remain relevant in many respects. Robert Castel’s analysis 25 years ago of the extension of psychology to ‘normal’ and the pursuit of well-being in risk management is therefore of interest today.

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