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Séminaire européen Sciences sociales et santé mentale

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Washing the citizen: washing, cleanliness and citizenship in mental health care
Jeannette Pols (univ. Amsterdam)

25 mai 2007

Discutants : Julien Grard & Samuel Lézé
Common ideals that inspire improvements in mental health care are participation in the community and citizenship for patients. But what is meant by citizenship? Here an analysis is made of washing practices in psychiatric nursing in long-term mental health institutions. Four repertoires of washing are described, each oriented towards a specific notion of citizenship. In the first repertoire, washing is part of individual privacy; the patient is performed as an individual whose authenticity should be respected in order to equip him or her for participation in the community. In the second repertoire, washing is a basic skill; the patient must learn to take care of her body in order to become an independent citizen. In the third repertoire washing is a precondition to citizenship; patients are to be helped to develop their potentials so that they can find their way in the community. In the fourth repertoire, washing is one opportunity among others to develop social relations; the extent and quality of these relations define a citizen. This analysis opens up not the question if, but which type of citizenship should be promoted.

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Non disponible Jeannette Pols (univ. Amsterdam)
Academisch Medisch Centrum, Université d’Amsterdam, Pays-Bas