Continuity or Transformation?

An Empirical Analysis of Hungarian Psychiatric Institutions

Institutions are based on the existence of written or unwritten norms and social perceptions. The concept of madness also rests on an inherent understanding of the normal, which is also a social construction. This is, again, reflected in the form and operation of social institutions set up to deal with the “abnormal”: psychiatric wards, clinics and hospitals; laws governing mental capacity and the procedures to revoke it; treatment protocols, etc. In my paper I provide, based on Weber’s theory of bureaucracy and and the New Institutionalism paradigm of Powell, an empirical analysis of the system of psychiatric institutions in Hungary. After an overview of the history of Hungarian psychiatric institutions, I concentrate on the following issues: how does the change of the social context affect the development of psychiatric institutions? Is there a development at all? Is the Hungarian system a “one-way system” with practically no way out for patients?

Released: Replika 74, 169–185.
Replika block: