Accepted paper:

Dwelling in temporary psychiatric (non)home

Author:

Maria Björklund (Stockholm University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper will focus a contemporary psychiatric care unit’s ambiguity of being both a home and a homelike non-home institution. The paper is based on an ethnographic fieldwork in a care unit in Sweden and is a part of my ongoing work on my dissertation about contemporary psychiatric care.

Paper long abstract:

In this paper I will discuss a contemporary psychiatric care unit's ambiguity of being both a home and a homelike non-home institution for its patients. The inpatient psychiatry is supposed to be temporary, only for those with difficult often acute psychiatric conditions. Ideally the patients should be integrated in society and live in their own home. The institution is framed to be just enough homelike to make the patients stay comfortable, but not too homely since that would make it hard for the patients to leave. But for a large group of patients - of which some also are returning to the care unit more or less frequently - the institution symbolizes everything a normative home does, such as security, the pleasant company of other people, peace and quiet, recovery, in contrast to their own homes associated with loneliness, anxiety and lack of daily routines. Therefore the homeliness of the non-home institution becomes an object of competing interpretations creating conflicts of meaning which includes power and resistance. The aim of this paper is to present and discuss how this conflict of meaning take place and affect everyday life in a psychiatric unit. The paper is based on an ethnographic fieldwork in a care unit in Sweden, and is a part of my ongoing work on my dissertation about contemporary psychiatric care and its differences from the institutions described by e.g. Foucault and Goffman.

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Temporalities of dwelling elsewhere: placing and displacing home (SIEF Place Wisdom Group)