Psy Disciplines

In the seminal book Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison, French philosopher Michel Foucault used ‘psy disciplines’ as a collective term for psychiatry, psychology, psychoanalysis, and other psychotherapies. This entry offers a brief discussion of the formation and impact of the psy disciplines, including implications for conceptualising children and childhood.

Foucault claimed that all sciences and forms of analysis and therapy employing the root ‘psycho’ have their starting point in the new forms of governance introduced during the 18th and 19th centuries in Europe. At this time, Europe was faced with the challenge of governing populations in a liberal democracy. The aim was to ensure morality and order but in ways that also afforded freedom of the individual and a free economy. Prior to ...

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