Secondary Logo

Institutional members access full text with Ovid®

Share this article on:

Fictional and Real-World Revolutionary Heroes in the History of Psychiatric Politics

Zimmermann, Martina PhD

The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease: December 2012 - Volume 200 - Issue 12 - p 1017–1021
doi: 10.1097/NMD.0b013e318275cdc1
Original Articles

This article analyzes, firstly, how the representation of the psychiatric institution in Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest pioneered criticism regarding asylum politics during the 1950s and, secondly, how the reactions of R.D. Laing, an influential psychiatrist-critic of the time, impacted changes of asylum politics, as seen through his autobiographical considerations in Wisdom, Madness and Folly that were published in 1985. The key aim of this work is to compare the ability of a satirizing, fictional piece of writing and a medically focused, nonfictional work of criticism to influence a movement that extended during the 1960s and the 1970s, indeed shaping health care policies in the 1980s and the 1990s as well as our present-day view on institutional management.

Department of Pharmacology, School of Pharmacy, Goethe University Frankfurt, Frankfurt, Germany.

Send reprint requests to Martina Zimmermann, PhD, Department of Pharmacology, School of Pharmacy, Biocentre N260, Max-von-Laue Str. 9, Goethe University Frankfurt, 60438 Frankfurt am Main, Germany. E-mail:

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.