No Asylum pp 1-43 | Cite as

Political Hospitalization: Conception, Conceptualization and Conduct

  • Theresa C. Smith
  • Thomas A. Oleszczuk


Many states confront episodic phenomena of political, national, ethnic and religious dissidents who defy societal norms. The Soviet experience with dissident movements was unprecedented for its duration, intensity, mass recruiting base, and its significance in the erosion and collapse of the Union. The Soviet experience was unique in both the size and degree of organization of nonconformist informal groups. The dissident movements at their apex comprised perhaps a quarter of a million or more diverse individuals (Hubner, 1980:84), of whom hundreds, possibly thousands, of the more vocal or irritating nonconformists were confined to psychiatric hospitals for extended periods. Even pariah states, such as South Africa at the height of its defence of apartheid, did not resort systematically to this measure to inhibit political upheaval.


Psychiatric Hospital Mental Hospital Medecins Sans Frontieres Political Crime World Psychiatric Association 
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  1. 21.
    See Elena Salina, ‘Ripples in the Water’, Stolitsa (Moscow) (3), March 1991:53–5, in Reddaway 1991:46 and fn.Google Scholar
  2. 38.
    A 1990 public opinion survey in Moscow and an outlying town reports that most respondents agreed people ‘rarely go to a psychiatric clinic voluntarily’. See Elena Salina, ‘Ripples in the Water’, Stolitsa (Moscow) No. 3, March 1991:53–5, in Reddaway, 1991:46 fn.Google Scholar
  3. 56.
    Thomas Szasz, Psychiatric Justice (New York: Macmillan, 1965).Google Scholar
  4. 57.
    Basaglia, Franco, ‘Institutions of Violence’, in Nancy Scheper-Hughes and Anne M. Lovel (eds), Psychiatry Inside Out: Selected Writings of Franco Basaglia: 59–86 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1987a).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Theresa C. Smith and Thomas A. Oleszczuk 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Theresa C. Smith
    • 1
  • Thomas A. Oleszczuk
    • 2
  1. 1.Minnesota State UniversityMankatoUSA
  2. 2.Stern School of BusinessNew York UniversityUSA

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