[Colloquium] Psychiatry and addictions in Europe in the 20th century

26 27 janv. 2023
Strasbourg, France


“The inebriate although appearing to be in possession of his mind, will always be found on the other side of that mysterious border-line of mental health[1].” This observation by physician Thomas Crothers in 1881 is indicative of the fact that alcoholism was never integrated without controversy into the field of psychiatry[2] – and the same holds true for other types of addiction. Historians have shown how social attitudes to the use of addictive substances have evolved over time. They have highlighted the interconnectedness of the history of substances such as opiates, tobacco or alcohol, which were at times incorporated into the same frame of reference, or at other times considered and handled separately[3].

The goal of this international colloquium is to explore psychiatry’s contribution to the troubled and non-linear[4] history of the medicalization of addictions in Europe throughout the 20th century. This question should be explored through the lens of medical concepts, institutions of care and cure, as well as patients’ experiences. At the same time, our aim is to explore how psychiatric archives may renew the social history of drugs.

For more information, see the Call for papers and the Conference website.

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