The ethics and politics of psychiatric deinstitutionalization in South America. Innovations, trajectories, and controversies in comparative perspective (EPPDISA).

Year of award: 2023


  • Dr Cristian Montenegro

    University of Exeter, United Kingdom

Project summary

The EPPDISA project aims to transform the international history of psychiatric reform by examining the ethical and political specificity of psychiatric deinstitutionalisation (PDI) ideas and policies in South America. Focusing on Brazil and Chile, the study considers the historical and sociological factors that shaped the re-elaboration of PDI. Developing an alternative approach to studying policy circulation and institutional transformation in mental health, the project asks: how national psychiatric communities' in South America responded to the PDI movement originating in the US and Western Europe, how reform trajectories reflected broader political and social transformations in each country and the region; the role of international agencies in the process; and the continuities and discontinuities in contemporary struggles for and against PDI in the region. The project seeks to historicise global mental health, acknowledging how therapeutic innovations, normative agendas, and policy ideas have travelled in the past and opening the potential for multidirectional learning across regions and times. The project?s long-term ambition is to reinvigorate the profound social sciences and humanities engagement with psychiatric practices that characterised the post-war era, decentring its Euro-American focus to place into view original developments in the global south.