50.000 maal 'Wie is van hout' en de antipsychiatrische beweging
This paper deals with two social phenomena:
1 — the tact that a voluminous book on ps-ychiatry written in Dutch language sold 50.000 copies,
2 — the antipsychiatrie movement. In this paper the author tries to understand the tact mentioned above by an attempt to describe the cultural world into which the book 'Wie is van hout' by 1. Foudraine was launched.
Judging by the outspoken, widely different and sometimes quite emotional responses which the book elicted, it has been read and reacted to in two distinct milieux:
the milieu of insiders in residential psychiatrie care, the milieu of outsiders.
The book hardly brings any new information into the insiders milieu, nor is it very much of a 'thriller' to experienced workers. The grossly biased picture of psychiatrie hospita! work and the inconsequente in theory do not make for the book to be considered a valuable contribution to a critical appraisal of psychiatric hospital care by knowledgable insiders. Among interested outsiders a quite different reaction to Foudraines book might be expected.
—Extensive case-histories as reported by Foudraine hardly ever appear outside scientific journals; these are not readily accessible to the public.
—Attacks launched at the most conspicious and the oldest form of mental health care viz. the mental hospital, (that has always aroused ambivalent feelings) should find a willing ear in to day's contercultural circles, especially if tinged with an anti-medical accent.
— The present overcrowding of social faculties and social academies shows the immense interest of present youth in helping relations. These are some factors which may account for part of the phenemenon: 50.000 copies sold.
Another factor may be important: during the last decade there has been a sharp decline in philosophical reflection on psychiatrie care. There seems to be a need for reflexive thinking about values and premises, a need to fill the 'reflexive lag'. Perhaps Foudraine tried to meet this need. Anti-psychiatrists like Cooper, Laing et al. certainly did. They brought fresh, interesting questions and new perspectives. They also brought in restrictive and damaging stereotypes and this is unfortunate.
The author of this paper strongly urges that stereotyping of any kind be avoided for the sake of clarity in psychiatrie theory and practice.