The Meaning of Normality: The controversy about the mental health campaign in Sweden 1969
2010 (English)In: Scandinavian Journal of History, ISSN 0346-8755, Vol. 35, no 2, 198-216 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
At the height of the Swedish welfare society, a campaign with the aim of promoting mental health issues within the Swedish labour market was launched. The title and purpose of the campaign, 'Mental health - an action of increased understanding and solidarity at work', was to illuminate mental health issues at work. Surprisingly to the organizers, the mental health campaign stirred up major opposition, especially from the political left. The idea of mental hygiene in an industrial and workplace setting, a cross-breed between the values of the Human Relations School and psychiatric science, was received with deep mistrust. The campaign caused an agitated debate in the media about power relations between employers and employees. The political disagreements were exposed in a number of articles in the daily newspapers and in the evening papers during the summer of that year. This article undertakes an investigation of the campaign literature and the media debate. The interpretation of the debate highlights different opinions about the meaning of normal mental health. Four different views of normality and mental health which demonstrate the complexity of the issue are presented. Mental health could mean adjustment and harmony, it could be a medical weapon to suppress the working class, it could even mean a neutral state of absence of mental problems, or lastly it could be a claim for the right to live a normal life.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
London: Routledge , 2010. Vol. 35, no 2, 198-216 p.
normality, mental health campaign, public mental health, industrial mental health, working life conditions
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Research subject Social Work
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-50545DOI: 10.1080/03468751003718217OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-50545DiVA: diva2:381703