From In Two Minds to MIND: The circulation of ‘anti-psychiatry’ in British film and television during the long 1960s

Snelson, Tim (2021) From In Two Minds to MIND: The circulation of ‘anti-psychiatry’ in British film and television during the long 1960s. History of the Human Sciences, 34 (5). ISSN 0952-6951

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Abstract

This article explores the circulation of ‘anti-psychiatry’ in British film and television during the long 1960s, focusing on the controversial BBC television play In Two Minds (1967) and its cinema remake Family Life (1971). These films were inspired by R. D. Laing's ideas on the aetiology of schizophrenia, and were understood as uniting the personal and political motivations of progressive film-makers (Ken Loach, Tony Garnett, David Mercer) and progressive psychiatrists (Laing, David Cooper, Aaron Esterson). Drawing upon practitioner interviews with producer Garnett and director Loach, and extensive archival research on the production and reception of these films, this article contests previous scholarship on the popular circulation of anti-psychiatry and the movement's perceived polarisation from mainstream British psychiatry. While the reception of In Two Minds and Family Life did intensify an adversarial relationship between ‘rebel’ anti-psychiatrists and hard-line behaviourists such as William Sargant, the wider psychiatric field largely welcomed the films' contributions to mental health awareness and used the publicity to counter the idea of a ‘battle’ within the profession. This included leading UK mental health organisation the National Association for Mental Health looking to Loach and Laing as models for engaging contemporary audiences as it rebranded to MIND in 1972. This article contributes to historical understandings of the complex interactions between the fields of media and mental health, as well as recent scholarship challenging the idea of a clear split between anti-psychiatry and British medical orthodoxy.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: r. d. laing,anti-psychiatry,film,psychiatry,television,history,history and philosophy of science ,/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/1200/1202
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Art, Media and American Studies
University of East Anglia > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Research Groups > Film, Television and Media
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Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 22 Jul 2021 00:05
Last Modified: 17 Sep 2021 01:14
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/80679
DOI: 10.1177/09526951211023334

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