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Mentalhygieniska arbetsmodeller i det sociala arbetet: Dispensären, den kliniska blicken och fallbeskrivningen
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
2006 (Swedish)In: Scandia, ISSN 0036-5483f, no 2, 72-84 p.Article in journal (Refereed) PublishedAlternative title
Social Work and the Practice of Mental hygiene : The dispensary, the clinical gaze and the making of a case (English)
Abstract [en]

The subject of this article is derives from my thesis Borders of Normality – discoursive practices of mental hygiene in the twentieth century. This comprehensive aim in this present text is to develop the ideas of the rise of modern knowledge and human science that Michel Foucault introduced in The Birth of the Clinic into the field of professional Social Work. During the midst of the twentieth century social workers created the concept of psychosocial work in close cooperation with the psychiatric profession. Mental hygiene was a public health- project which aimed to reach the “ordinary citizen” through practices of outward psychiatric care and social counselling. The issue addressed in the article is: -How did the medical professions influence the practice of psychosocial and mental hygiene social work? The analytical tools used in understanding the practices of mental hygiene are “the dispensary model”, “the clinical gaze” and “the construction of a case”. The “gaze” is an elaboration of the Foucaultian concept of the construction of medical knowledge and the dispensary practice relates to the new social perspectives of medicine in the twentieth century. The way of “seeing things” and the ways of organizing the clinical work, through “cases” construe a certain knowledge about the human kind. This technique was teached to social workers through The Mental hygiene Course and the course Training in Social Treatment between the years 1939 and 1989. The empirical materials consists of preserved materials of the course and the texts that are studied for the purpose of the article consists of pedagogic materials such as course books, papers, drafts and preparations for courses. A conclusion of the study is that the psychosocial training within the education of social workers was built on medical and psychological concepts and methods. The skills of the clinical gaze were trained through education in psychosocial theories. Theories, developed within medical and psychiatric practices, were applied to social work through the presentation of cases. The client, the ”owner” of the psychosocial problem, represented the case that confirmed the existence of psychosocial problems.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Scandia: Tidskrift för historisk forkning , 2006. no 2, 72-84 p.
Keyword [en]
Mental hygiene, social work practice, psychosocial training
National Category
Social Work
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-6731OAI: diva2:196948
Available from: 2007-03-14 Created: 2007-03-14 Last updated: 2011-01-11Bibliographically approved

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