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Borderline deinstitutionalization: Yugoslav resonance and dissonance with Basaglia 

Borderline deinstitutionalization: Yugoslav resonance and dissonance with Basaglia
Borderline deinstitutionalization: Yugoslav resonance and dissonance with Basaglia

Vito Flaker

, Vladimir Jović

, Nataša Cvetković Jović

, and Andreja Rafaelič

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date: 13 April 2021

The geographical vicinity of Trieste and Gorizia yielded only a borderline effect of deinstitutionalization in Yugoslavia. After initial interest, Yugoslav official psychiatry assumed a rejecting attitude covering the void of their failing project of ‘social psychiatry’. Anti-institutional and anti-authoritarian social movements embraced the ideas and praxis born on the border, to make deinstitutionalization a part of the democratization process. Trieste was a paragon for the first community services and deinstitutionalization attempts during and after the war and ‘transition’. The Italian model of transformation was often an effective corrective to top–down, culturally invasive ways in deinstitutionalization ‘hiccups’ in post-Yugoslav countries. Basaglian conceptual triangulation of structural, existential, and interactionist facets, pragmatic interinstitutional politics, a ‘conversion model’ of transformation, and an open-coded, radically humanist approach to people’s distress still resound in the deinstitutionalization praxis in the former Yugoslavia. Even if deinstitutionalization nowadays seems to be primarily technological, it still needs to be contextualized, not only locally but also in terms of global social and political challenges.

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