The failure of collusion: A model for the genesis of “mental illness”

Renzo Carli, Rosa Maria Paniccia


The mentally ill person is not aware of his “illness” and therefore does not present a demand to the psychiatrist, as happens instead in people’s usual relationship with the doctor. Reference is made to the work of Georges Canguilhem on this point. Mental illness is analysed as the medicalization of a failure of the collusive dynamic, in a single person, inside the context where he lives with others. The social pact at the basis of collusion is analysed. A critical view is taken of the extension of serious, psychotic, forms of mental illness to the usual modes of social adaptation; depression, extended by psychiatrists from its more serious forms to the “depressive character”, is an example of this extension designed to psychopathologize modes of adaptation that instead in the past were valued.


mental illness; collusion; diagnosis; psychiatry; individual; living together.

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Rivista di Psicologia Clinica. Teoria e metodi dell'intervento

Rivista Telematica a Carattere Scientifico Registrazione presso il Tribunale civile di Roma (n.149/2006 del 17/03/2006)

ISSN 1828-9363