Jelena Seferović, Ante Bagarić, View at the history of treating patients of the Psychiatric hospitals in Pakrac and Stenjevec between the two world wars from the perspective of cultural anthropology


About the Location:

The Museum in Pakrac generally deals with the protection and presentation of the cultural heritage of the wider region. It stimulates diverse presentational activity (exhibitions, museum workshops, lectures, various museum actions) as an important contribution to the cultural and social life of the area. The lecture of Jelena Seferović and Ante Bagarić will elucidate some cultural-anthropological aspects of the archival documentation related to the psychiatric hospitals in Pakrac, established in 1910, and Stenjevec (present Clinic for Psychiatry Vrapče, Zagreb), established in 1879.

Paper’s abstract:

The aim of the paper on the one hand examines the specificity of the current psychiatric treatment methods from the cultural-anthropological aspect. On the other hand, it considers the implications of the economic (non)opportunity in intercourse on the quality of the hospital standard and their impact on the need for the social exclusion of this population from the home environment. Research has shown that the work organization in the Pakrac and Stenjevec Institute has followed the trends and concepts in psychiatry that were current in the nearby European countries. By analysing the history of the illnesses treated in the two institutes similarities were found in the content of their daily hospital routine, but there were differences between the intensity of maintaining family contacts. In particular, there was a clear lack of correspondence between relatives of the patient relatives hospitalized in the Pakrac Institute and the administration of the institution as well as their recorded visits, relative to those from Stenjevec Institute. In the context of observation of hospital everyday life, special attention will be paid to the interaction of patients with an outside institutional environment. The accent will lay on reflecting the theme in terms of their gender identity. The appearance that united the issue of work was material poverty, therefore its impact and consequences will be contextualized when considering former organization of work of the investigated psychiatric institutions and experience of the (long)persistent social exclusion of their patients. Archival fieldwork based on qualitative methodology implied the analysis of hospital cartons treated in the Psychiatric Departments in Pakrac and Stenjevec dated from 1929. to 1939. and on consideration of the official documentation of the work of the two mentioned institutions.