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Spaces of Refuge: The Clinical Practice of Félix Guattari and Institutional Psychotherapy
Anthony John Faramelli1, Rachel Wilson2
1Goldsmiths University of London; 2SHP
The clinical relationship to issues of territories, the State and refugees has a particular importance in the work of Félix Guattari. The clinical practice done by Guattari, Jean Oury, Jean-Claude Polack, Anne Querrien, and others at La Borde worked to transform the clinic into a space of refuge. Indeed, beyond caring for patients, La Borde was also a space of political sanctuary. A salient example of this is the way in which the clinic gave refuge to people trying to avoid fighting for the French during the Algerian War of Independence. La Borde Clinic was part of the Institutional Psychotherapy movement, a movement that has, as its core, an explicit emphasis of creating a clinical space of care and refuge that do not reproduce the neurosis of the State.
Institutional Psychotherapy (IP) is perhaps the most important, if under-studied, 20th movement. While Félix Guattari is usually only thought of in relation to schizoanalysis, his involvement in the IP movement is by far more significant. IP constituted all the clinical work done at La Borde and, as such, formed the foundation for schizoanalysis. IP was first developed during Nazi occupation at the Saint-Alban Hospital by the refugee psychiatrist François Tosquelles. By opening the hospital up to the local community, Saint-Alban was able to endure occupation without a single patient death. In addition to this, Tosquelles and his colleagues transformed the hospital into a sanctuary for political dissidents and Resistance fighters. Shortly after the war two junior doctors came to Saint-Alban to work with Tosquelles, Jean Oury and Frantz Fanon. Later, Guattari also came to Saint-Alban as an intern. The practices developed at Saint-Alban worked to deterritorialise the institution, transforming it from a space of confinement to a caring space, a space of freedom.
This paper will explore how issues of territory, movement, and refuge became central to the way in which Institutional Psychotherapy created space and how these spaces worked to undo the double alienation (social and psychological) created by the liberal capitalist state. Key to this examination is IP’s analysis of how the hospital reproduces specific forms of mental ill health when the institution is tied to the State. Turning to three key members of IP, Tosquelles, Fanon and Guattari, the paper will go on to argue that IP formulated a specific political understanding of refuge and care that was able to deterritorialise the clinic, untethering it from the confines of the State.
4:30pm - 5:00pm
The Concept of a “Similar Other”: Autism Studies and Deleuzian Philosophy
University of Tokyo, Japan
Deleuze’s name has forever been associated with “schizophrenia”, which composes, alongside “capitalism”, the subtitle of the books that he wrote together with Félix Guattari. Granted Deleuze-Guattari’s works are framed definitively through and by schizophrenia, it seems to me however far less clear whether Deleuze’s own works can be assimilated to this framework. For this 20th-century French philosopher’s thought seems rather to show a close proximity to the experience of a different mental disorder. The concept of the “Other”, which figures prominently in his early thought and is developed most fully in his essay “Michel Tournier and the World Without Others”, included in the Appendix to The Logic of Sense, presages what recent research on ASD (Autistic Spectrum Disorder) has since brought to light. For the Deleuzian “desert island”, an experience of the “world without others”, is true also of an autist’s perception of the world. People with ASD are often said to have difficulty in recognizing Others: it is as if they were living on a desert island. If therefore the recognition of the Other is not innate but something which must be learnt, it is imperative that we inquire how such a recognition takes place. Through this inquiry, I will take the Deleuzian concept of the Other in a novel direction, to propose a new concept of the “Similar Other”, a concept which I believe can contribute concretely to Autism Studies. Through this concept, I will also explain the social exclusion of ASD as an effective consequence of the present neoliberal economic regime.