Fanon’s Psychiatric Hospital as a Waystation to Freedom

Nancy Luxon

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What does it mean to develop psychiatric method in a colonial context? Specifically, if the aims of psychiatry have traditionally been couched in the language of ‘psychic integration’ and ‘healing’, then what does it mean to practice psychiatry within structures that organize and reinforce the exclusions of colonialism? With these questions, this article examines Frantz Fanon’s psychiatric practices in light of his radical political commitments. I argue that Fanon’s innovations with the institutional form of the psychiatric hospital serve to intervene differently in psychic conflict. Notably, these changes offer different ways to diagnose and respond to patients, along with different strategies for managing psychic disintegration in colonial contexts. The result is a rethinking of the relation between material and imagined worlds, and so the emergence of the hospital as a waystation between a colonial context and a political freedom yet to come.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalTheory, Culture and Society
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2021.


  • colonialism
  • decolonization
  • disalienation
  • Fanon
  • psychiatry
  • subjectivity


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