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Secularized/Medicalized Confession And The Problematization Of Rational Autonomy

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Chapter Summary

The economic failure of the houses of confinement, pointed out by Michael Foucault in Madness and Civilization (MC, 50-54), arguably provided psychiatric authorities with the opportunity to respond to juridical power through what, in effect, amounted to a counter-counter-move. Foucault maintains in "The Confession of the Flesh," that psychiatrists were increasingly accommodated within penal institutions around this time, in a way that facilitated greater collaboration between juridical and psychiatric authorities. Forms of secularized/medicalized confession, particularly in the nineteenth century, increasingly came to differ from any previous process of 'reporting back' to the medical authorities, which had necessarily been predicated on the rational autonomy of the population in order for their testimonies to constitute valid points of reference.

Keywords: Madness and Civilization (MC); medicalized confession; Michael Foucault; rational autonomy; secularized confession



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