From traditionalism to modernism: mental health in the Ottoman Empire
Afacan, Şeyma (2010) From traditionalism to modernism: mental health in the Ottoman Empire. [Thesis]
Official URL: http://192.168.1.20/record=b1304474 (Table of Contents)
This thesis aims to offer a perspective on the history of mental health in the Ottoman Empire with a special focus on modernization. It is designed to be a modest contribution towards studying social history of medicine relying on the Foucauldian theoretical framework. It first provides a literature review to delineate the changes in the Ottoman medical history writing and the origins of the Ottoman social history of medicine. Originally being a purely institutional history, Ottoman medical historiography has become transformed in the late 1970's by discussing social effects of medicine. This thesis then intends to portray the transition from traditionalism to modernism. It investigates the limits of medical modernization and asks the question as to what degree medical knowledge was used as a disciplinary mechanism. It searches for how modernization shaped mental health in the Ottoman Empire with respect to confinement practices and state control. With this regard this thesis is aimed to show a comparative perspective between pre-modern and modern mechanisms in terms of confinement practices and state control. Up until the commencement of medical modernization confinement practices were not standardized, and were not necessarily under the control of the state. Religious institutions as well as and family and neighborhood members did play decisive roles in confinement practices. However, from the second half of the nineteenth century, medical knowledge was used as a disciplinary mechanism to a degree in which effective organizational structures were established. Mental treatment, hospital conditions and confinement practices were left to state control. This project aims to show that state control was increased and confinement was used as a disciplinary mechanism to a degree in which the required effective organizational structures to be established. Discipline imposed upon individuals was not experienced homogenously due to differences in the level of institutional effectiveness and modernization throughout the Empire.
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