Tosquelles, what is left on the institutions?

[Automatic translation from Catalan]:

Francesc Tosquelles’ legacy (1912-1994) has increasingly gained a presence in our quotidian work, and not only for his contributions in the field of mental health, since, following his training in Barcelona and during the war of 36, we must consider him a pioneer in what Camille Robcis calls disalienation in his book Disalienation: politics, philosophy, and radical psychiatry in France.

There is no doubt that he is the pioneer of what could later be called institutional psychotherapy and that in his hands he will reformulate during the war period to become the community field in a political and especially cultural action.

He was innovative especially because his revolutionary and intellectual roots cannot be forgotten. Tosquelles lived in Catalonia before the War of 36 and was a member of BOC and POUM. This meant that Tosquelles wanted to move his research, initiated at the Pere Mata de Reus Institute, to emergency war situations and managed to do so. He did so on the Republican front and in the concentration camps of exiles in France (Argelers de la Marenda; Saint-Cyprien and Ribesaltes until arriving in Saint-Alban, Occitania), where he carried out the reforms most important, radical and ambitious to «treat the institutions» from 1940.

His innovations, as you will read on the monograph we published with the Tosquelles conference speeches that we submitted to you, are an extraordinary piece of work. You can read texts, you can hear witnesses who have recognized the work done and the revolution in place, but above all you can read real psychotherapy, from theories that can be interpreted as radically different, and all linked to their daily work and the professionals that accompanied him.

As you will read, in order to approach Tosquelles we need to re-visit and also reconstruct its intellectual, revolutionary itinerary and read it the other way round, from its training as a revolutionary to its experience in all scientific and community matters and its desire to bring the «patients» closer together, always putting subjectivity at the centre of any possible policy, despite the existing inhumane conditions, both in war and in concentration camps.

In the work of the speakers we wanted to invite you will find the history of the legacy of Tosquelles, but also the institutional criticism, the criticism of the institutions that for years in Catalonia have been a priority «making public» when it comes to foundations and private companies.

And this does not forget all those professionals who accompanied him like Frantz Fanon, Gabriel Ferrater, Jacques Lacan, Michel Foucault or Jean Oury; and who remind us of their first references to the theories of decolonisation and the Lacanian and Marxist clinical practices.

Barcelona, May 28th, 2023

Anna Miñarro
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