Finn forskningsprosjekt

The Mental Machine: Confinement of Criminal Insanity in Norway in the 20th Century

Sist oppdatert den 10. May 2013

This is an interdisciplinary project concentrating on historic studies of the institutionalization of Norwegian forensic psychiatry in the 20th century. The departure of the study focuses the two Norwegian high security institutions: Kriminalasylet (1895-1963) and Reitgjerdet hospital in Trondheim (1923-1987).

The project has four analytic subjects: psychiatric scientific practices, political conditions, the patients and their families and the relation between the institutions and the surrounding society.

The project is interdisciplinary and had research activities related to history, psychiatry, psychology, health science, gender studies, literature studies, anthropology and criminology.

At the moment the project is organized in following subprojects:
- The cultural construction of diagnoses (Øyvind Thomassen and Olav Linaker)
- Men’s sexuality and sexual crimes (Eivind Myhre)
- The epistemology of sexuality in forensic psychiatry (Stine H.B. Svendsen)
- Crime and degeneration in fiction and scientific literature (Silje Warberg)
- The understanding and treatment of  “idiots” and “imbeciles” as insane criminals (Erik Søndenaa and Camilla Gudde)
- The role of law in forensic psychiatry (Hilde Dahl)
- How does the criminological discourse influence the writing of the journal in forensic psychiatry? (Petter Aaslestad)
- Crime and insanity as knowledge: Controversies related to the establishing and closure of the high security asylums (Åse Riaunet)
- The influence of escapes from high security institutions on the public opinion (Fredrik Berg)
- Asylum patients participation in the scientific psychiatric discourse. A study of patient letters. (Øyvind Thomassen)
- Forensic psychiatry as a tool for social and cultural cleansing of vagabond habits (tramps, bums and hobos) 1895-1960 (Øyvind Thomassen)
- Psychiatrists’ biographies (Øyvind Thomassen)
- The feminist movement and sexual offenders (Maria A. Sæther)
- Family nursing in Northern Norway (Åshild Fause)

More sub projects are expected to become added. Today the activities in the project are concentrated around the sub projects. During the coming years these studies will make the basis for a synthetic analysis of Norwegian forensic psychiatry in the 20th century.

Project period: 2012-

Norwegian project title:
Mainnan i buret: Norwegian forensic psychiatry in the 20th century

The project paticipate in the development of the project Prison of Madness