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“Recovery” in mental health services, now and then: a poststructuralist examination of the despotic State machine's effects

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assemblage, Deleuze and Guattari, mental health nursing, poststructuralism, recovery

Abstract (summary)

Recovery is a model of care in (forensic) mental health settings across Western nations that aims to move past the paternalistic and punitive models of institutional care of the 20th century and toward more patient‐centered approaches. But as we argue in this paper, the recovery‐oriented services that evolved out of the early stages of this liberating movement signaled a shift in nursing practices that cannot be viewed only as improvements. In effect, as “recovery” nursing practices became more established, more codified, and more institutional(ized), a stasis developed. Recovery had been reterritorialized. The purpose of this paper is to examine some of the threads of recovery, from its early days of antipsychiatry activism to its codification into mental health—including forensic mental health—institutions through the lens of poststructuralist philosophers Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari. We believe that Deleuze and Guattari's scholarship provides the necessary, albeit uncomfortable, framework for this critical examination. From a conceptualization of recovery as an assemblage, we critically examine how we can go about creating something new, caught in a tension between stasis and change.

Publication Information

Johansson, J. A., & Holmes, D. (2023). “Recovery” in mental health services, now and then: A poststructuralist examination of the despotic State machine's effects. Nursing Inquiry, e12558.


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Attribution (CC BY)