A Critical History of Schizophrenia

  • Kieran McNally

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-ix
  2. Kieran McNally
    Pages 1-13
  3. Kieran McNally
    Pages 14-20
  4. Kieran McNally
    Pages 21-38
  5. Kieran McNally
    Pages 39-67
  6. Kieran McNally
    Pages 68-85
  7. Kieran McNally
    Pages 86-108
  8. Kieran McNally
    Pages 109-126
  9. Kieran McNally
    Pages 127-146
  10. Kieran McNally
    Pages 147-167
  11. Kieran McNally
    Pages 168-196
  12. Kieran McNally
    Pages 197-210
  13. Kieran McNally
    Pages 211-211
  14. Back Matter
    Pages 213-269

About this book


Schizophrenia was psychiatry's arch concept of madness in the twentieth century. However, it was a concept that was both surprisingly problematic and contentious.

This book explores schizophrenia's instability, as the concept changed across the 20th century. It moves beyond sensational accounts of kids on LSD and split personalities, to detail schizophrenia's historically problematic definition, diagnosis, and symptom profile. In doing so, Kieran McNally documents the social uses of the concept, its regional variations, and its fluctuating subtypes. And finally, the book explains how, and why, North American psychiatry sought to improve the concept in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), by introducing group sanctioned operational definitions.

This book reveals a tradition of critical unease towards the concept of schizophrenia and it reveals that criticism of the concept was consistently voiced by many leading schizophrenia researchers - and not just by 'anti-psychiatrists'. It becomes clear that at no stage in its history was schizophrenia thought to be beyond improvement.


Schizophrenia antipsychiatry history madness psychiatry psychology clinical psychology critical psychology history of science medicine personality psychopathology schizophrenia

Authors and affiliations

  • Kieran McNally
    • 1
  1. 1.University College DublinIreland

Bibliographic information