Event Title

Words, Thoughts, and Mental Illness

Faculty Advisor

Jamie Zelechowski

Graduation Year

2019

Location

Room E104, Center for Natural Sciences, Illinois Wesleyan University

Start Date

13-4-2019 11:00 AM

End Date

13-4-2019 12:00 PM

Description

In this paper, I examine how societal and scientific/medical perceptions of mental illnesses have changed in (West) Germany since World War II. I do so by conducting an analysis of the language used in the medical and popular discourse on mental illness during that time. Language is important, because the terminology used to define something can greatly affect one’s perceptions. In the case of mental illness these perceptions greatly affected the way in which they are treated. In order to put these discussions into context, I will be focusing upon an autobiography written by a former schizophrenic cataloguing her experiences in German medical care between 1936 and 1959, and how these experiences changed since then. By looking at this information, I demonstrate that while stigma against people suffering from mental illnesses has greatly decreased in scientific perception, such stigma has only recently begun to decrease in German society.

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Apr 13th, 11:00 AM Apr 13th, 12:00 PM

Words, Thoughts, and Mental Illness

Room E104, Center for Natural Sciences, Illinois Wesleyan University

In this paper, I examine how societal and scientific/medical perceptions of mental illnesses have changed in (West) Germany since World War II. I do so by conducting an analysis of the language used in the medical and popular discourse on mental illness during that time. Language is important, because the terminology used to define something can greatly affect one’s perceptions. In the case of mental illness these perceptions greatly affected the way in which they are treated. In order to put these discussions into context, I will be focusing upon an autobiography written by a former schizophrenic cataloguing her experiences in German medical care between 1936 and 1959, and how these experiences changed since then. By looking at this information, I demonstrate that while stigma against people suffering from mental illnesses has greatly decreased in scientific perception, such stigma has only recently begun to decrease in German society.