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    From experimental psychosis to resolving traumatic pasts

    Marks, Sarah (2015) From experimental psychosis to resolving traumatic pasts. Cahiers du monde russe 56 (1), pp. 53-75. ISSN 1252-6576.

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    Abstract

    Drawing on research papers, archives and scientific memoirs, this paper reconstructs the psychedelic research projects developed in Prague between 1954 and1974, situating psychiatric research in Communist Czechoslovakia within the transnational context of Cold War science. It traces attempts to induce experimental psychosis as a means of exploring the aetiology of schizophrenia; as well as the resilience of psychoanalytic theory and practice in Czechoslovakia, illustrated by approaches to psychotherapy using LSD as an accelerant. Time – and the subjective experience thereof – formed a fundamental part of the psychotherapeutic process, and the researchers explicitly utilized hallucinogenic drugs to actively manage patients’ memories of their own past within the controlled environment of the clinic and the therapeutic relationship. The use of pharmacological and psychological techniques to control experiences from the patient’s history for therapeutic purposes fitted into a wider progressive project for the improvement of human subjectivity itself: they appeared to offer a utopian method for revisiting and ultimately curing trauma. Ultimately, psychedelic research resonated with broader interests of socialist modernity, which was concerned with facilitating future human potential, and the use of science and technology to further social progress.

    Metadata

    Item Type: Article
    School: School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy > History, Classics and Archaeology
    Depositing User: Administrator
    Date Deposited: 11 Aug 2020 12:36
    Last Modified: 11 Aug 2020 12:36
    URI: https://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/32844

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