HomeEstimating, Locating, and Comparing Mental Disorders in the Second Part of the Twentieth Century

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Published on Tuesday, November 26, 2019 by Céline Guilleux

Summary

Psychiatric epidemiology – the study of the distribution of mental disorders within a population – emerged on the scientific scene during the second half of the 20th century. However, unlike the fields of psychiatry, psychology, and psychoanalysis, psychiatric epidemiology has yet to be studied by historians, largely due to the fact that it was only professionalized much later. Several factors can explain the field’s relative “invisibility”: the still recent standardization of its methods, the diversity of local scientific traditions, nations’ varying public health policies, the range of different sites for observation (rural or urban studies, comparisons between neighbouring communities, insular populations, cohorts) as well as the varieties of interdisciplinary studies implemented within the scientific community (medicine, psychology, sociology, anthropology, biostatistics). These elements highlight the diversity of potential sources, and thus necessarily bring forward the question: how should one go about writing a history of this largely unrecognized field?

Announcement

Workshop Collegium de Lyon/IHRIM-UMR 5317, Équipe DSM-ENS-Lyon

Argument

Psychiatric epidemiology – the study of the distribution of mental disorders within a population – emerged on the scientific scene during the second half of the 20th century. However, unlike the fields of psychiatry, psychology, and psychoanalysis, psychiatric epidemiology has yet to be studied by historians, largely due to the fact that it was only professionalized much later. Several factors can explain the field’s relative “invisibility”: the still recent standardization of its methods, the diversity of local scientific traditions, nations’ varying public health policies, the range of different sites for observation (rural or urban studies, comparisons between neighbouring communities, insular populations, cohorts) as well as the varieties of interdisciplinary studies implemented within the scientific community (medicine, psychology, sociology, anthropology, biostatistics). These elements highlight the diversity of potential sources, and thus necessarily bring forward the question: how should one go about writing a history of this largely unrecognized field? By starting with a description of the institutional archives of large national agencies (INSERM, NIMH, etc.) and universities? By paying attention to the leading figures of the field in order to analyse international networks of psychiatric epidemiology? Or rather by piecing together the history of on-site data collection? Should the focus be on larger inquiries (Stirling County Study, Isle of Wight Studies, etc.) as case studies, or should the practice of adapting questionnaires derived from psychological studies (screening) and classic epidemiological indicators (prevalence, incidence, risk factors) to mental health issues first be examined? These questions will be central to our seminar, which will bring together researchers from the social sciences interested in the history of psychiatric epidemiology as well as the epidemiologists themselves, medical students, psychiatric doctors and psychologists, in order to exchange ideas on the subject of the historical importance of this professional field.

Organisation

Emmanuel Delille (Centre Marc Bloch/Collegium de Lyon/CAPHES) & Samuel Lézé (IHRIM, Équipe DSM-ENS-Lyon).

Place, date, and contact

  • Date : Wednesday, 27 November 2019/
  • Place : ENS-Lyon, 15 parvis René Descartes, building-room : D2-123
  • Lengh of the presentations : 20 minutes + 10 minutes discussion
  • Languages : English and French/anglais et français
  • Contact : Emmanuel Delille (edelille@ens.fr) et Samuel Lézé (samuel.leze@ens-lyon.fr)

Programme

  • 9h reception of the participants
  • 9h30 Introduction : Hervé Joly (Collegium de Lyon), Emmanuel Delille, Samuel Lézé

Chair : Élodie Giroux (Université Lyon III Jean Moulin, IRPHIL, EA 4187)

  • 10h « The Science of Atypical Child Development: Cinema and Epidemiology in the Twentieth Century », Bonnie Evans (Queen Mary University of London)
  • 10h30 « Psychiatric epidemiology in the transition from Mental Hygiene to Mental Health (1940s-1950s)», Tiago Pires Marques (Centro de Estudos Sociais, Universidade de Coimbra).

11h Coffee break/pause café

Chair: Elisabetta Basso (ENS-Lyon, Triangle)

  • 11h30 « Interdisciplinary in the history of mental health: The Stirling County Study in Psychiatric Epidemiology », Emmanuel Delille (Collegium de Lyon/Centre Marc Bloch, Humboldt Universität-zu-Berlin).
  • 12h Discussion

12h30 Lunch pause

Chair : Aurélien Belot (Collegium de Lyon/London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine/LYSARC)

  • 14h30 « The Tools of Psychiatric Epidemiology: Historical and Epistemological Considerations about the Means to Objectify Health and Mental Suffering into the Surveys Carried Out within the General Population», Steeves Demazeux (SPH-EA4574, Université Bordeaux-Montaigne)
  • 15h « Preventing the “Non Infectious” Spread of Alzheimer’s Disease: The Impact of Collective Anxieties in the Historical Evolution of Scientific Definition of “Epidemic”», Gloria Frisone (EHESS)
  • 15h30 « The Local and the Standardized: Psychiatric Epidemiology and the World Health Organization, 1959-1970 », David J. Robertson (Princeton University)

16h Coffee break

Chair : Samuel Lézé (IHRIM-Equipe DSM, ENS-Lyon).

  • 16h30 Anne Lovell (CERMES, INSERM), discussant and final discussion
  • 17h30 Conclusion of the workshop : Emmanuel Delille & Samuel Lézé

18h End of the workshop

Subjects

Places

  • Bâtiment D2, Room/Salle : 123 - ENS-Lyon, 15 parvis René Descartes
    Lyon, France (69)

Date(s)

  • Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Keywords

  • science, health, epidemiology, psychiatry, mental health, global health

Contact(s)

  • Emmanuel Delille
    courriel : edelille [at] hotmail [dot] com

Reference Urls

Information source

  • Emmanuel Delille
    courriel : edelille [at] hotmail [dot] com

To cite this announcement

« Estimating, Locating, and Comparing Mental Disorders in the Second Part of the Twentieth Century », Study days, Calenda, Published on Tuesday, November 26, 2019, https://calenda.org/718451

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