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Negated Institutions. Franco Basaglia and Radical Psychiatry in Italy in the 1960s and 1970s.



Negated Institutions. Franco Basaglia and Radical Psychiatry in Italy in the 1960s and 1970s.

With John Foot.

In English.


In 1961, when Franco Basaglia arrived outside the grim walls of the Gorizia asylum, on the Italian border with Yugoslavia, it was a place of horror, a Bedlam for the mentally sick and excluded, redolent of Basaglia’s own wartime experience inside a fascist gaol. Basaglia, the new Director, was expected to practise all the skills of oppression in which he had been schooled, but he would have none of this.

Inspired by the writings of authors such as Primo Levi, R. D. Laing, Erving Goffman, Michel Foucault and Frantz Fanon, and the practices of experimental therapeutic communities in the UK, Basaglia’s seminal work as a psychiatrist and campaigner in Gorizia, Parma and Trieste fed into and substantially contributed to the national and international movement of 1968. In 1978 a law was passed (the ‘Basaglia law’) which sanctioned the closure of the entire Italian asylum system.

The first comprehensive study of this revolutionary approach to mental health care, John Foot's The Man Who Closed the Asylums (Verso, 2015) is a gripping account of one of the most influential movements in twentieth century psychiatry, which helped to transform the way we see mental illness.


John Foot is Professor of Modern Italian History in the Department of Italian, University of Bristol. He has published a number of books in the fields of contemporary Italian history and politics, including Calcio. A History of Italian Football (2006), Modern Italy (2014) and The man who closed the asylums. Franco Basaglia and the revolution in mental health care (2015).


Date: Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Time: From 6:30 pm To 8:00 pm

Organised by : Italian Institute of Culture

Admission : Free


Istituto Italiano di Cultura