Reading Group: Institutional Analysis

On May 3rd, Quiver will discuss “Institutional Analysis.”

Our conversation is centered on the work of Frantz Fanon.

We have provided two readings. The first contextualizes the work of Fanon within social psychiatry, the institutional psychotherapy movement, and his historical context (Caribbean, French, and North African).

The reading visits Fanon during his work at the Blida-Joinville Psychiatric Hospital in Blida, Algeria. Inspired by thriving experiments in Saint-Albian led by the anti-fascist Tosquelles, Fanon sought to bring social, cultural, and political methods to the repressive environment of Blida-Joinville. He fought the prison-like atmosphere with a “disalienated psychiatry” through collective works, hands-on activities, group sports, a newsletter that explained treatments, and film club to breathe life into the space. But he considered it a failure, as in the deeply-segregated institution it only seemed to help the white patients and not the Muslim ones. After submitting his resignation, he was expelled from the country and moved to Tunisia where he linked up the Algerian combatants of the FLN.

The second reading is an extended journal that chronicles Fanon’s time at Blida-Joinville in vivid detail. Fanon co-wrote it with Jacques Azoulay (whose dissertation he supervised) to outline the challenges of working at Blida-Joinville with the hopes of finding some theoretical insights. They describe the particulars of the stifling structure of the hospital, practical details of their experimental attempts to combat them, and an insightful post-mortem on why they feel they failed.

Zoom Link

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