Kritiek van prof. Keth Windschuttle op visie van Foucault omtrent de evolutie van de psychiatrie In: The Killing of History: How a Discipline is Being Murdered
Part of what made Foucault such an enormous academic hit was his posture of anti-bourgeois radicalism combined with his insistence that the truth is always and everywhere a coefficient of power. In every case, Foucaults basic tack was to argue that Enlightenment and post-Enlightenment efforts to reform these institutions were really alibis for the extension of state power.
In his first book, Madness and Civilization (1961), for example, Foucault contrasts the happy time of the Middle Ages when the insane wandered freely from town to town or traveled on a literal Ship of Fools up and down the Rhine. The birth of the asylum, according to Foucault, was a dark day for the insane, for not only were they now incarcerated, but also they were denied the status of human beings. Foucault makes similar claims about hospitals and penal policy.
As Mr. Windschuttle shows in devastating detail, in every case Foucaults account is wildly inaccurate. For example, there was no Ship of Fools as Foucault describes; his dates are often wrong by a century or more; and as for the treatment of the insane,
the historian Andrew Scull sets the record straight: Where the mad proved troublesome, they could expect to be beaten or locked up; otherwise they might roam or rot. Either way, the facile contrast between psychiatric oppression and an earlier, almost anarchic toleration is surely illusory. Mr. Windschuttle makes the more general case:
Madness became an issue of public policy with the rise of democratic, egalitarian societies, primarily because these societies accepted the madman not as the other, or as someone outside humanity, but as another human being, as an individual with the same basic status as everyone else.