Rissanen Anu, Doctoral Student

Finnish history

I am writing a doctoral dissertation concerning treatment practices which were utilized in Finnish psychiatric hospitals. Working title of my dissertation is “Cure to Sick Minds: Psychiatric Treatment Methods in Harjamäki Mental Hospital 1926-1989.” My main sources are patient records, from which I examine different therapies and how they were utilized in practice. I compare the possible differences between academic psychiatry and practical actualization of therapies.  I also study patients’ opinions about their treatments. I compare the treatment practices of Harjamäki to other similar hospitals in Finland to establish an image of psychiatric treatment policy in Finnish mental institutions. I compare the policy and its main guidelines f. ex. to other Nordic countries’ practices.

In year 2017 I will be co-writing history of Vanha Vaasa hospital. My part observes hospitals’ history 1950s onwards.

As a researcher I am interested in the history of medicine and psychiatry particularly in the 20th century, as well the themes of citizenship and how it is composed. These themes includes questions of normality, abnormality, otherness, inequality and institutions which are visible in everyone’s daily life.

I am a participant in departmental research center of Health and Well-being. I am also active in Cultural Mental Health Study group, which acts as a forum for mental health researchers from many Finnish universities. I am also a member of international network of researchers in Madness Studies.