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2021

Prison Writings in Switzerland (19-20th Centuries)

Introduction to the dossier
Cristina Ferreira et Ludovic Maugué
Traduction de François-Xavier Priour
Cet article est une traduction de :
Écrits de l’enfermement en Suisse (xixe-xxe siècles) [fr]

Texte intégral

Letter from Eugene D. (1910)Afficher l’image
Crédits : Archives cantonales vaudoises (ACV), SB 261 B1/11

“Thus it is established that the condemned may not have thoughts, since all they are allowed to have is remembrances. Memory alone is admitted, not ideas. […] The crime is not meant to be thought about; it may only be experienced, and then recalled. We do not tolerate the system, but the mere memory of the crime.”

  • 1 Michel Foucault, “Préface”, in Serge Livrozet, De la prison à la révolte, Paris, Mercure de France, (...)
  • 2 Michel Porret, “Maintenir mais modérer la mort comme peine au temps des Lumières”, in Frédéric Chau (...)
  • 3 Groupe d’information sur les prisons, Intolérable, présenté par Philippe Artières, Paris, Gallimard (...)
  • 4 Laurence Le Bras (dir.), Manuscrits de l’extrême, Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, 2019, p. (...)

1As noted by Michel Foucault in his preface to the book by former inmate and co-founder of the Groupe d’information sur les prisons (GIP) Serge Livrozet, the word of the condemned has long been confined to a strictly delimited framework1. Under the Ancien Régime, the only conceivable form of expression of homo criminalis was at best that of the remorseful sinner cutting an edifying figure from the gallows for benefit of the public2. Later on, the criminal’s word and the prisoner’s life story were codified in the same manner, confiscated even. Telling the story of their life? Why not, who cares? On the condition, however, that the unholy autobiography be shown as a singular adventure, the consequence of “some kind of weakness or some obscure genie”. On the condition, crucially, that the perpetrator refrain from reflecting on “the political meaning of the offense”. Therefore, the early 1970s saw a veritable breakthrough when the GIP started tackling the “bars of silence”, encouraging inmates to “let the prison be known” beyond the conventional, formulaic narratives3. Revealing the intolerable that characterizes imprisonment, inmate writings – much like those by psychiatric inpatients and other outcasts – count among these peculiar narratives that may be described as an “urgency to tell that overwhelms those struggling with the convulsions of their destiny4”. By unearthing these archived words, the present dossier grants the reader access to ephemeral and lasting feelings, and unveils both the experiences and the struggles of men and women coping with or fighting coercion.

Coercion and Welfare in Switzerland: a Past to Rebuild from Below

2Our editorial project is part and parcel of a social and political context where the scientific community is, more than ever, expected to contribute to a history of penalties grounded in the actual experiences of those who were subjected to them.

  • 5 On the 21 April 2014, the Swiss Federal Assembly passed a federal law on the rehabilitation of thos (...)
  • 6 Geneviève Heller, Pierre Avvanzino, Cécile Lacharme, Enfance sacrifiée : témoignages d’enfants plac (...)
  • 7 Geneviève Heller, Gilles Jeanmonod, Jacques Gasser, Rejetées, rebelles, mal adaptées. Débats sur l’ (...)
  • 8 Urs Germann, “Ein Insulinzentrum auf dem Land : die Einführung der Insulinbehandlung und der therap (...)

3Under pressure from both victim associations and researchers, public authorities have turned their attention, in particular, on a coercive assistance scheme enforced in Switzerand until 1981. Appearing on the political agenda a decade ago or so, administrative detention (l’internement administratif), this “dark chapter of Helvetic social history”, has now turned into a vast field of investigation5 – a reminder of how tenuous the boundaries between penal justice, the authoritarian exercise of tutelary power, and a welfare-backed penalty system may prove to be. This new field of study stems from various research works on the forced placement of socioeconomically disadvantaged children6, eugenic sterilization measures to prevent “flawed progeny” (“descendances tarées”)7, as well as the coercive methods used in psychiatric clinics8.

  • 9 In 1974, the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) demanded that Switzerland put an end to adm (...)
  • 10 All ten volumes are accessible online, including a summary of the main findings: Urs Germann, Lorra (...)

4Many a study wasalready under way when, in 2014, an independent expert commission was mandated by federal authorities to document administrative detention cases involving adults9. Published in 2019, this body of research conducted in several Swiss cantons revealed damning insights10. Between 1930 and 1981, an estimated 60,000 people perceived to be at odds with the standards of family life, the workplace, the community or even the church – illegal and/or alcoholic workers, paupers at risk of becoming a burden for the public welfare system, girls whose sexual behavior was considered loose – received extra-judicial penalties whereby they were deprived of their liberty. Without ever having infringed on a single law, these people were incarcerated for indeterminate periods of time, on the mere decision of administrative authorities and usually without any possibility of appeal. Arbitrary decision-making process, legal insecurity, durable stigma: such are the now-documented facts that clearly point to a problematic hybridation between legal regimes. Targeting the “needy”, the mad, the petty delinquents, the sex workers, the “drunkards”, the “slackers”, these coercive measures are nothing short of an invitation to reactivate the classical theme of class inequalities and gender-based discrimination.

  • 11 For a presentation of the program: < http://www.nfp76.ch/fr >.
  • 12 Two closely-linked projects cover two centuries of expert practices: Enfermer pour soigner ? Genèse (...)

5Multidisciplinary inquiry is still underway at the present time, with a vast national scientific research program exploring the relationship between “Welfare and Coercion” (PNR 76)11. The role of forensic psychiatry in penal and civil procedures in French-speaking Switzerland is explored mainly in the context of this particular framework12. Still, expertise is not necessarily what we are most interested in here, insofar as the report submitted by psychiatrists at the request of judicial agents is but one piece of evidence among many others in records that may contain all sorts of things. Archival material from penitentiary medical services may feature documents that were not produced directly by the institution, but by the expertised and the patient-detainees themselves. Letters scribbled in detention, post-release postcards, autobiographical narratives, curriculum vitae, fragments of a novel, poems dwelling on life at the psychiatric ward, existential assessments recorded on pages torn from school notebooks, succinct notes requesting urgent medical appointments, the crossed-out draft of an appeal for clemency: in the standard cardboard folders, among sheaves of institutional documents, the odd scribbled sheet of paper can sometimes be found, featuring a request, a supplication, a protest, a denunciation, a complaint, hope…

  • 13 For an ethnographic approach of asymmetrical writing, see Martyn Lyons, “Writing Upwards : How the (...)

6These writings, some of which were intercepted and censored a the time, nevertheless represent a temporary way out, allowing us a glimpse into daily affects, dismayed worldviews, surges of concern on the eve of an assize trial. While the writers find themselves subjected, conditioned by stringent rules, while their movements are monitored, their writings still show the possibility of influencing their own destiny, an agency that needs to be outlined13. Reading these sometimes supplicating, sometimes vehement messages, where shaky grammar skills are often compensated by neat handwriting, it appears that these people would probably never have opened up, save for the constraint of detention, guardianship, or forced hospitalization. Therefore, the writings to be examined here were indeed dictated by a reclusive condition, or perceived as such even after having crossed the threshold of an establishment.

Writing in Prison or in a Psychiatric Hospital: Historiographic Chasms

7Seen through the lens of the micro-history of detention, the present thematic dossier is meant to bridge major historiographic chasms which should be outlined right away.

  • 14 Daniel Fink et al., “Le retrait de la liberté. Peine privative de liberté et privation de liberté”, (...)
  • 15 Jacques-Guy Petit, Ces peines obscures. La prison pénale en France 1780-1875, Paris, Fayard, 1990; (...)

8Acknowledging the above-mentioned historical memory context, Daniel Fink is surprised that “the practice of liberty deprivation, and the enforcement of sentences in particular, have largely remained terra incognita for historical research in Switzerland”14. Coming from one of the finest experts of prisons in Switzerland, this statement suggests that the Swiss penal system has never been subjected to thorough historical analysis, unlike its French, Dutch, or German counterparts in particular15. However, a quick review of scientific literature shows that this assessment should be taken with a pinch of salt.

  • 16 Michel Porret, “Prison : la bombe Foucault”, L’Histoire, 40 ans de controverses, 447, mai 2018, p.  (...)
  • 17 As described by Michelle Perrot in her preface to the book. Robert Roth, Pratiques pénitentiaires e (...)
  • 18 These are often legal studies, such as the series “Der schweizerische Strafvollzug” (the Swiss pena (...)

9In the decade following the publication of Discipline and Punish (1975)16, penal studies thrived in Switzerland, before the pendulum started to swing back in the 1990s. For instance, this historiographic moment provided the opportunity for Robert Roth to publish his remarkable thesis on Geneva’s “exemplary” Tour maîtresse prison, straddling social history and history of law17. Simultaneously, a significant string of academic works (dissertations, theses, and memoirs) undertook an examination of cantonal penitentiary establishments using the monograph format18.

  • 19 Pierre Joset, Die waadtländische Strafanstalt Établissements de la Plaine de l’Orbe (Bochuz), Aarau (...)
  • 20 Le passe-muraille – Journal des prisonniers, Genève, La Chaux-de-Fonds, Groupe Action Prison Vaud-G (...)
  • 21 Martine Desmonts, Torture psychiatrique à Genève, Lausanne, Éditions d’en bas, 1982.

10Still, with very few exceptions19, the subjective experience of detainees was never explored. By focusing on penal doctrine, parliamentary debates, or even achitectural issues, these authors favored a legal and political-administrative approach of the prison issue. As a result, their findings remained all too often constrained by the abstract order of a normative discourse that disregarded social behaviors in prison. The actual day-to-day life experiences of the inmates can in fact be read about, but in another literature, militant rather than scientific, mostly put forward by activists from the Groupe Action Prison20 – which is strikingly reminiscent of the stories by “psychiatry survivors” printed at about the same period of time by militant publishers21.

  • 22 Anne-Françoise Praz et al., “... je vous fais une lettre” : Retrouver dans les archives la parole e (...)
  • 23 Irène Marti, Living the prison: an ethnographic study of indefinite incarceration in Switzerland, N (...)

11However, for the last ten years or so, often due to memory processes and claims for legal redress from the above-mentioned “victims”, new research perspectives have been explored for other types of liberty deprivation, for example by recent monographs on the Bellechasse prison (Fribourg) and Hindelbank women’s penitentiary (Bern) – both of which have been used (among others) for administrative detention. In these publications, daily life is apprehended through the lens of the subjective perceptions of those directly involved, drawing from their writings and spoken word22. From this point of view, this historiographic avenue could benefit from future ethnographic studies aiming to describe the daily life of detainees subjected to indefinite incarceration23.

  • 24 Michel Gressot, “Valeur psychologique de la peine”, Revue Internationale de criminologie et de poli (...)
  • 25 Michel Gressot, “La responsabilité pénale vue par un psychanalyste”, Revue internationale de crimin (...)

12Writing the history of incarceration in Switzerland obviously involves taking into account local particularisms, disparities between cantonal legislations, not to mention the impact of religious cultures. Still, acknowledging a local level of observation should not come at the cost of sidelining either the national context or international exchanges. In this respect, the circulation of ideas within a complex reformative web spearheaded by psychoanalysis is a somewhat overlooked issue. And for good reason. In the immediate aftermath of World War Two, Swiss psychiatry and psychoanalysis experts, close to the French movement known as “New Social Defense”, argued in favor of what one of them, Michel Gressot (1918-1975), called the “psychological value of the penalty”24. Thanks to spiritual support from chaplains, medical psychiatric consultations, and firm yet benevolent supervision by wardens previously trained in the psychology of delinquents, Gressot claimed that incarceration was clearly conducive to self-reflection25.

  • 26 Raymond de Saussure, “Réflexions sur le traitement des délinquants psychopathes”, Revue internation (...)

13This credo is strongly inspired by the healing of souls (cure des âmes), a concept dear to the heart of Helvetic Protestants, who had given Freudian psychoanalysis an enthusiastic welcome as early as the turn of the century. It should be remembered that in Geneva, throughout the first half of the 20th century, psychoanalytic and pedagogic circles collaborated with psychiatric institutions and philanthropic spheres in the hope that scientific enlightenment may contribute to rationalizing the penal field. During the after-war period, these alliances were maintained and consolidated, attracting such authoritative intellectual figures as psychiatrist-psychoanalyst Raymond de Saussure (1894-1971)26 and penal scholar Jean Graven (1899-1987). This aspect of the history of ideas cannot be bypassed if one is to fully grasp the importance of writing practices in places of incarceration.

  • 27 Only in the 1990s were the first studies exploring patient hospital files in French-speaking Switze (...)
  • 28 The same can be said of juvenile delinquents. Their files can only be retrieved based on the writin (...)
  • 29 Aude Fauvel, “Psychiatrie et désobéissance. Écrire à l’asile : la France, la Grande-Bretagne et l’e (...)

14Historicized by the analysis of personal writings, the ordinary experience of incarceration also need to be fleshed out in the context of other forms of liberty deprivation. Based on the directions taken as early as the late 1980s by the rejuvenated historiography of psychiatry in Switzerland, the key role given to the patient’s hospital file as empirical material cannot be denied27. Still, when analyzing practices, standardized medical and healthcare documents tend to be used almost exclusively, to the detriment of patient productions, whose presence in the archives is patchy and, most importantly, extremely disparate28. Besides, quantitative analysis, heavily relied upon by authors wishing to give an objective view of the historical development of psychiatric establishments, is unlikely to foster a full appreciation of the singular voices of inpatients. There are very few sources, for example, similar to what has been documented in other national contexts as a “from-below” history of anti-psychiatry29.

  • 30 Catherine Fussinger, Urs Germann, Martin Lengwiller, “Diversification de la psychiatrie en Suisse : (...)
  • 31 Jean Starobinski, L’Encre de la mélancolie, Paris, Seuil, 2012. Before giving up medicine forever i (...)
  • 32 See for instance: Christian Müller (dir.), Portraits de psychiatres romands, Lausanne, Payot, 1995.
  • 33 Magali Tornay, “La gentille dame Largactil, la méchante dame Geigy. La clinique psychiatrique de Mü (...)

15History scholars, wishing to depart from hitherto dominant internalist approaches, now approach publications by psychiatrists as they do any other source material30. Much like Jean Starobinski’s medical thesis (1959), reprinted and augmented by other writings in 201231, medical-historiographic tradition, heavily influenced by literary references, used to apprehend the identity of patients, their bouts of depression, and their reactions to treatments through the lens of medical observations. While the inpatients’ clandestine scribblings did somewhat pique their curiosity, these authors were more inclined to praising the inventivity and pharmacological experiments of psychiatrists32. These hagiographic narratives are now being revisited to integrate the point of view of patients who endured, or feared, the side effects of early drug trials33.

  • 34 Jonathan Andrews, “Case Notes, Case Histories and the Patient’s Experience of Insanity at Gartnavel (...)
  • 35 Alexandra Bacopoulos-Viau, Aude Fauvel, “The Patient’s Turn Roy Porter and Psychiatry’s Tales: Thir (...)
  • 36 Flondrin Condrau, “The Patient’s View Meets the Clinical Gaze”, Social History of Medicine, 20, 3, (...)

16Whatever the case may be, the history of the field is still being written “from above” rather than at ground level, as experienced on a daily basis and told by inpatients themselves. The dialectic “between top and bottom” remains scarcely documented, enven though it could be achieved by comparing for instance patient writings with the notes taken by doctors and carers about them34. These trends are all the more surprising given that many authors, including a new generation of historians in France and Belgium, do subscribe to the perspective of “History from below” promoted by British historian Roy Porter. However, three decades after this call for a renewal of the history of medicine from the perspective of the patient, the results, as assessed by Alexandra Bacopoulos-Viau and Aude Fauvel, remain rather mixed as far as psychiatric studies are concerned35. While not going as far as adopting historian Flurin Condrau’s perspective on the very notion of “patient36, the authors do note that history written from the point of view of the afflicted has not really taken off after all, and rue the minimalist trend consisting in collecting only peculiar and exceptional cases.

  • 37 Laurence Guignard, Hervé Guillemain, “L’Histoire en délires. Usages des écrits délirants dans la pr (...)
  • 38 Michel Thévoz, Le langage de la rupture, Paris, PUF, 1978 et “Écriture et folie”, in Écriture en dé (...)
  • 39 For an analysis of the psychiatrists’ relationship to patient writings, see: Juan Rigoli, Lire le d (...)
  • 40 Taline Garibian, “Les patient-e-s du Docteur Forel. Une consultation de sexologie épistolaire”, His (...)
  • 41 Florence Choquard Ramella, “Le fou “nosognosique” sous le regard médical : les lettres d’Eugénie No (...)

17The unsettling character of some “delusional writings” no doubt contributes to inhibiting the methodical exploration fiber in most social historians. As suggested by Hervé Guillemain and Laurence Guignard, however, the enigmatic writings produced by ordinary madmen, instead of being apprehended with a view to categorizing them like psychiatrists do, may very well be understood to “leverage the power of expression as an alternative gaze on the era37“. As a matter of fact, this has been the approach followed ever since the 1970s by Michel Thévoz, a historian of raw art and writing who has published remarkable exegeses of the writings of Aloïse Corbaz and Adolf Wölfli38. Literary studies aside39, and despite a number of recent works exploring epistolary sources in medicine and sexology40, the analysis of writing practices in psychiatric hospitals mostly remains to be written41.

  • 42 Philippe Artières, “L’historienne et l’enfermée”, Clio. Femmes, Genre, Histoire, n°26, 2007, p. 181 (...)

18In short, while a number of works show that places of incarceration are indeed “formidable graphomaniac machines”42, one can’t help noticing that the writings left by inmates and psychiatric patients are a relatively unexplored source for Helvetic historians. Such is the chasm that the present dossier intends to bridge by means of unpublished contributions. Protest writings, introspective writings, or even so-called “delusional” writings: from a non-exhaustive topology of personal writings, the idea is to piece together the experience of incarceration, both as a hybrid institutional reality, a reform project, and a trigger for writing.

19Finally, it should be mentioned that this dossier, like any other thematic dossier published on Criminocorpus, remains open to future contributions. Potential authors are invited to contact the coordinators or the editorial board of the journal.

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Bibliographie

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Notes

1 Michel Foucault, “Préface”, in Serge Livrozet, De la prison à la révolte, Paris, Mercure de France, 1973, p. 7-14, passim. (our translation)

2 Michel Porret, “Maintenir mais modérer la mort comme peine au temps des Lumières”, in Frédéric Chauvaud (dir.), Le droit de punir du siècle des Lumières à nos jours, Rennes, PUR, 2012, p. 27-40.

3 Groupe d’information sur les prisons, Intolérable, présenté par Philippe Artières, Paris, Gallimard, 2013.

4 Laurence Le Bras (dir.), Manuscrits de l’extrême, Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, 2019, p. 11.

5 On the 21 April 2014, the Swiss Federal Assembly passed a federal law on the rehabilitation of those placed in detention by administrative decision (Loi fédérale sur la réhabilitation des personnes placées par décision administrative), which stipulates that historical research should be conducted to shed light on these long-hidden practices.

6 Geneviève Heller, Pierre Avvanzino, Cécile Lacharme, Enfance sacrifiée : témoignages d’enfants placés entre 1930 et 1970, Lausanne, EESP, 2005; Sara Galle, Gisela Hauss, “Les scandales des placements d’enfants : les maisons d’éducation sous les feux de la critique publique au début des années 1970”, in Malik Mazbouri, François Vallotton (dir.), Scandale et histoire, Lausanne, Antipodes, 2016, p. 99-115; Marco Leuenberger, Loretta Seglias (dir.), Enfants placés, enfances perdues, Lausanne, Éditions d’en Bas, 2009. Joëlle Droux, Anne-Françoise Praz, Placés, déplacés, protégés ? L’histoire du placement d’enfants en Suisse, XIXe-XXe siècles, Neuchâtel, Alphil, 2021.

7 Geneviève Heller, Gilles Jeanmonod, Jacques Gasser, Rejetées, rebelles, mal adaptées. Débats sur l’eugénisme. Pratiques de la stérilisation non volontaire en Suisse romande au XXe siècle, Genève, Georg, 2002; Véronique Mottier, Laura von Mandach (dir.), Pflege, Stigmatisierung und Eugenik, Integration und Ausschluss, Zürich, Seismo, 2007; Roswitha Dubach, Verhütungspolitik – Sterilisationen im Spannungsfeld von Psychiatrie, Gesellschaft und individuellen Interessen in Zürich (1890-1970), Zürich, Chronos, 2013.

8 Urs Germann, “Ein Insulinzentrum auf dem Land : die Einführung der Insulinbehandlung und der therapeutische Aufbruch in der Schweizer Psychiatrie der Zwischenkriegszeit” in Hans-Walter Schmuhl, Volker Roelcke (Hrsg.), Heroische Therapien. Die deutsche Psychiatrie im internationalen Vergleich 1918-1945, Göttingen, Wallstein Verlag, 2013, p. 149-167.

9 In 1974, the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) demanded that Switzerland put an end to administrative detention. Because these coercive practices went far beyond the motivations listed by article 5 of the ECHR to restrict liberties in civil society, a standardized legal framework was needed. The law of 6 October 1978 partially amending the Swiss Civil Code therefore introduced a new chapter: “Deprivation of liberty for the purpose of assistance.” For an analysis of this political-legislative process and the associated controversies, see: Cristina Ferreira, Ludovic Maugué, Sandrine Maulini, L’Homme-bus. Une histoire des controverses psychiatriques (1960-1980), Chêne-Bourg, Georg, 2020.

10 All ten volumes are accessible online, including a summary of the main findings: Urs Germann, Lorraine Odier, La mécanique de l’arbitraire. Internements administratifs en Suisse 1930-1981. Rapport final, vol. 10 B, Zurich, Chronos, 2019.

11 For a presentation of the program: < http://www.nfp76.ch/fr >.

12 Two closely-linked projects cover two centuries of expert practices: Enfermer pour soigner ? Genèse de la psychiatrie légale (Michel Porret et Cristina Ferreira); Expertiser la souffrance et la transgression : savoir et pouvoir de la psychiatrie légale (Cristina Ferreira et Jacques Gasser).

13 For an ethnographic approach of asymmetrical writing, see Martyn Lyons, “Writing Upwards : How the Weak Wrote to the Powerful”, Journal of Social History, 49/2, 2015, p. 317-330.

14 Daniel Fink et al., “Le retrait de la liberté. Peine privative de liberté et privation de liberté”, Traverse. Revue d’histoire, 2014, n°1, p. 34. Voir aussi Daniel Fink, La prison en Suisse : un état des lieux, Lausanne, PPUR, 2017.

15 Jacques-Guy Petit, Ces peines obscures. La prison pénale en France 1780-1875, Paris, Fayard, 1990; Pieter Spierenburg, The Prison Experience. Disciplinary Institutions and Their Inmates in Early Modern Europe, New Brunswick, London, Rutgers University Press, 1991; Falk Bretschneider, Gefangene Gesellschaft. Eine Geschichte der Einsperrung in Sachsen im 18. und 19. Jahrhundert, Konstanz, UVK, 2008.

16 Michel Porret, “Prison : la bombe Foucault”, L’Histoire, 40 ans de controverses, 447, mai 2018, p. 24-25. Michel Porret, Marco Cicchini (dir.), Les sphères du pénal avec Michel Foucault. Histoire et sociologie du droit de punir, Lausanne, Antipodes, 2007.

17 As described by Michelle Perrot in her preface to the book. Robert Roth, Pratiques pénitentiaires et théorie sociale. L’exemple de la prison de Genève (1825-1862), Paris, Genève, Droz, 1981.

18 These are often legal studies, such as the series “Der schweizerische Strafvollzug” (the Swiss penal system), comprised of 13 publications containing the findings of empirical studies on Swiss prisons carried out from 1976 to 1983 in the context of law theses.

19 Pierre Joset, Die waadtländische Strafanstalt Établissements de la Plaine de l’Orbe (Bochuz), Aarau-Frankfurt am Main, Sauerländer, 1976; Cléopâtre Montandon, Bernard Crettaz, Paroles de gardiens, paroles de détenus. Bruits et silence de l’enfermement, Paris, Genève, Masson, Médecine et hygiène, 1981; Ludovic Maugué, ““Vouer le crime à l’industrie”. La manufacture carcérale d’Embrun : première maison centrale française et prison du département du Léman (1798-1813)”, thèse de doctorat, Université de Genève, 2016. Mikhaël Moreau, “À l’ombre des geôles. “Revêtir les prisons” à Genève au XVIIIe siècle : l’Évêché et ses prisonniers”, Mémoire de maîtrise, Université de Genève, 2018.

20 Le passe-muraille – Journal des prisonniers, Genève, La Chaux-de-Fonds, Groupe Action Prison Vaud-Genève, 1976-1979.

21 Martine Desmonts, Torture psychiatrique à Genève, Lausanne, Éditions d’en bas, 1982.

22 Anne-Françoise Praz et al., “... je vous fais une lettre” : Retrouver dans les archives la parole et le vécu des personnes internées, Zürich, Chronos, 2019; Marietta Meier et al., Zwang zu Ordnung. Psychiatrie im Kanton Zürich 1870-1970, Zürich, Chronos, 2007.

23 Irène Marti, Living the prison: an ethnographic study of indefinite incarceration in Switzerland, Neuchâtel, Institut d’ethnologie, 2020.

24 Michel Gressot, “Valeur psychologique de la peine”, Revue Internationale de criminologie et de police technique, 1958, 3, p. 172-176.

25 Michel Gressot, “La responsabilité pénale vue par un psychanalyste”, Revue internationale de criminologie et de police technique, 1964, 18, 1, p. 196-197.

26 Raymond de Saussure, “Réflexions sur le traitement des délinquants psychopathes”, Revue internationale de criminologie et de police technique, 1959, vol. XIII, n°1, p. 201-206.

27 Only in the 1990s were the first studies exploring patient hospital files in French-speaking Switzerland published: Georges Klein, Jacques Gasser, “L’évolution de la psychiatrie à travers les dossiers de patients. L’exemple de l’Hôpital psychiatrique de Cery, 1873-1949”, Revue historique vaudoise, 1995, p. 65-85.; Jacques Gasser, Geneviève Heller, “The confinement of the insane in Switzerland, 1900-1970: Cery (Vaud) and Bel-Air (Geneva) asylums”, in Roy Porter et David Wright (dir.), The confinement of the insane: international perspectives. 1800-1965, Cambridge, CUP, 2003, p. 54-78.

28 The same can be said of juvenile delinquents. Their files can only be retrieved based on the writings of the professionals who supervised them. See for instance: Geneviève Heller, Ceci n’est pas une prison. La maison d’éducation de Vennes. Histoire d’une institution pour garçons délinquants en Suisse romande (1805- 1846-1987), Lausanne, Antipodes, 2012.

29 Aude Fauvel, “Psychiatrie et désobéissance. Écrire à l’asile : la France, la Grande-Bretagne et l’exception écossaise (XIXe siècle)”, in Falk Bretschneider, Julie Claustre, Isabelle Heullant-Donat (dir.), Enfermements II. Règles et dérèglements en milieux clos (IVe-XIXe siècle), Paris, Publications de la Sorbonne, 2015, p. 393-407.

30 Catherine Fussinger, Urs Germann, Martin Lengwiller, “Diversification de la psychiatrie en Suisse : état et perspectives de recherche en histoire de la psychiatrie”, Traverse, revue d’histoire, n°10, 2003, p. 21-30.

31 Jean Starobinski, L’Encre de la mélancolie, Paris, Seuil, 2012. Before giving up medicine forever in 1958, Starobinski did practice as an intern a the Cery hospital in 1957-1958.

32 See for instance: Christian Müller (dir.), Portraits de psychiatres romands, Lausanne, Payot, 1995.

33 Magali Tornay, “La gentille dame Largactil, la méchante dame Geigy. La clinique psychiatrique de Münsterlingen vers 1954”, in Jean-François Bart, Élisabeth Basso (dir.), Foucault à Münsterlingen. À l’origine de l’Histoire de la folie, Paris, Éditions EHESS, 2015, p. 55-68.

34 Jonathan Andrews, “Case Notes, Case Histories and the Patient’s Experience of Insanity at Gartnavel Royal Asylum, Glasgow, in the Nineteenth Century”, Social History of Medicine 11, 1998, p. 255-281. Camille Jaccard, “Paroles folles dans la psychiatrie du XIXe siècle et du début du XXe siècle : histoire et épistémologie”, Thèse de doctorat, Université de Lausanne, 2018.

35 Alexandra Bacopoulos-Viau, Aude Fauvel, “The Patient’s Turn Roy Porter and Psychiatry’s Tales: Thirty Years on”, Medical History, 2016, 60 (1), p. 1-18

36 Flondrin Condrau, “The Patient’s View Meets the Clinical Gaze”, Social History of Medicine, 20, 3, December 2007, p. 525-540.

37 Laurence Guignard, Hervé Guillemain, “L’Histoire en délires. Usages des écrits délirants dans la pratique historienne”, in Isabelle Perreault et Marie-Claude Thifault (dir.), Récits inachevés. Réflexions sur la recherche qualitative en sciences sociales, Ottawa, Presses universitaires d’Ottawa, 2016, p. 178.

38 Michel Thévoz, Le langage de la rupture, Paris, PUF, 1978 et “Écriture et folie”, in Écriture en délire, Lausanne, Collection de l’art brut, 2004, p. 9-22.

39 For an analysis of the psychiatrists’ relationship to patient writings, see: Juan Rigoli, Lire le délire. Aliénisme, rhétorique et littérature en France au XIXe siècle, Paris, Fayard, 2001.

40 Taline Garibian, “Les patient-e-s du Docteur Forel. Une consultation de sexologie épistolaire”, Histoire, médecine et santé, n°12, 2017, p. 57-72; Séverine Pilloud, Les mots du corps. Expérience de la maladie dans les lettres de patients à un médecin du XVIIIe siècle : Samuel Auguste Tissot, Lausanne, BHSM, 2013. Vincent Barras, Martin Dinges, Maladies en lettres. XVII-XXIe siècles, Lausanne, BHMS, 2013.

41 Florence Choquard Ramella, “Le fou “nosognosique” sous le regard médical : les lettres d’Eugénie Nogarède adressées au Dr Hans Steck”, L’évolution psychiatrique, 69, 2004, p. 451-460. Voir également sa thèse de doctorat : “Le regard d’un psychiatre sur les écrits de la folie. La carrière de Hans Steck à l’asile psychiatrique de Cery (1920-1960)”, Université de Lausanne, 2012.

42 Philippe Artières, “L’historienne et l’enfermée”, Clio. Femmes, Genre, Histoire, n°26, 2007, p. 181-188.

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Cristina Ferreira et Ludovic Maugué, « Prison Writings in Switzerland (19-20th Centuries) »Criminocorpus [En ligne], Écrits de l’enfermement en Suisse (XIXe-XXe siècles), mis en ligne le 02 décembre 2021, consulté le 26 novembre 2022. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/criminocorpus/12148 ; DOI : https://doi.org/10.4000/criminocorpus.12148

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Cristina Ferreira

Cristina Ferreira, docteure en sociologie et professeure associée à la Haute École de santé Vaud (HESAV/HES-SO). Ses domaines d’investigation portent sur les dimensions socio-politiques de l’expertise psychiatrique. Elle est l’auteure de Invalides psychiques, experts et litiges (Antipodes, 2015). Depuis 2018, elle assume la direction de l’étude Expertiser la transgression et la souffrance. Savoir et pouvoir de la psychiatrie légale (PNR-76, Assistance et coercition). Avec Ludovic Maugué et Sandrine Maulini, elle publie en 2021, L’Homme-bus. Une histoire des controverses psychiatriques (1960-1980), chez Georg. 

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Ludovic Maugué

Docteur en histoire moderne avec une thèse sur la naissance de la maison centrale d’Embrun (Université de Genève, 2016), Ludovic Maugué est chercheur FNS senior à la Haute École de Santé Vaud (HESAV). Ses principaux thèmes de recherche (XVIIIe-XXe siècles) concernent l’histoire sociale, politique et culturelle de la justice, de l’assistance et de la coercition et l’histoire de la psychiatrie légale. Avec Cristina Ferreira et Sandrine Maulini il a récemment publié L’Homme-bus. Une histoire des controverses psychiatriques (1960-1980), Chêne-Bourg, Georg, 2020. En 2019, en tant que chercheur auprès de la Commission indépendante d’experts chargée de réaliser une étude sur l’internement administratif en Suisse, il publie avec Christel Gumy, Sybille Knecht et al. : Des lois d’exception ? Légitimation et délégitimation de l’internement administratif, Neuchâtel, Alphil, 2019.

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