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After Jericho – The new areas of psychiatry


Dear members and supporters,

The Idealmente Onlus Association non-profit organization wishes you Happy Easter.

We invite you to read this book on Ethnosemiotics by Professor Francesco Galofaro, entitled

AFTER JERICHO – The new areas of psychiatry.

This is the preface.

The text by Francesco Galofaro, third issue of the series of Ethnosemiotics Notebooks, addresses a theme of powerful cultural and political impact upon which the author puts the tools of semiotics and ethnosemiotic observation to the test, in an attempt to increase the understanding and evaluative capacity of the phenomena.

As the title suggests, it discusses the new types of treatment for mental distress resulting from the closure of mental asylums under the Basaglia legislation of 1978, and inevitably inserted, to some extent and in varying ways, within the constitutive networks of everyday social life, through a fall in receptive facilities in the region and socially transparent care and support options, basically shared.

Galofaro’s analyses profit from a certain astuteness: it does not simply involve describing what occurs; what can be seen by going to the residences of those who have become “users” of social care facilities, but rather compares the various places at the moment of transformation itself or rather attempts to draw suggestions for the analysis of the appreciation ‘in vivo’ of the transformations, more or less critical, of these same places at the time of transfer from normal homes to those dedicated to vacation moments (sea and mountain), betting on the significance of the tactics of readjustment of the value of residential spatiality and on the emergence of significant evaluation of the concrete articulations of this same spatiality.

The transfers, the author tells us, are not painless and the new spaces in which a few weeks a year are spent, require a recalibration of values (which are for the most modal values) related to the appropriation of space by each individual, both user and those offering support. The spaces appear immediately as either lived-in spaces and places for privatization strategies or, conversely, communal; sharing that environment that is destined to become the world of the new daily life.

Furthermore the process combines two different approaches that become complementary for the description of the phenomena in question: on one hand Galofaro works on transcriptions of interviews and conversations with users, drawing a very important indication, that for which the analysis of verbal utterances, once focused on grammatical and enunciation choices, can easily be read as a series of declaratory gestures, real, genuine behaviours that provoke placement of individuals with respect to the spatial structures, temporal and actorial of the discourse, with identifications, sorted and put in perspective; on the other hand there is the observation of somatic behaviours, choices regarding spatial occupation, access or concealment strategies that act to reveal the value attributed to the self in the environment contemporaneously, in a situation in which to establish new inter-relationships (new neighbourhoods, new proximities, new public spaces, etc.; it involves an overall reorganization of the image in which the new portion of the world where one lands, is loaded.

An additional point of interest is that the ethnosemiotic observation enables the mutual determination game to be fully grasped, within the same enhancement dynamic, between intent, routes, actions, actorial strategies, on the one hand, and the objectified structures of space, time, rhythm, obstacles and openings, on the other.

In this way, the suggestion of a very general value is drawn, which is to place the dimension of the value as the authentic dimension for understanding subjectivization and objectification processes; processes that can in this way appear to be correlative in value, in fact, relational poles of respective constitution.

From all this one can then draw information to improve discomfort-management policies, research on the articulations of the sense for and with individual users of local health facilities, all of which, inasmuch as explicitly given as the ultimate goal of the work, it basically emerges almost necessarily, in confirmation of the fact that, more than a response to preconceived problems, changing reality draws its maximum effect from the understanding of phenomena for how they are to be read and how they open up to an in-depth analysis with “a scientific vocation”.

Francesco Marsciani, editor of the Ethnosemiotics notebooks. Associate Professor Department of Arts Scientific discipline sector: M-PHIL/ 05 PHILOSOPHY AND THEORY OF LANGUAGES Publishing company Esculapio First Edition: September 2015 Ethnosemiotics Notebooks is a scientific series. It entrusts the assessment of the quality of published works to public discussion and reviews. It does not rely on other forms of preliminary judgement (particularly anonymous), other than editorial decisions under the explicit responsibility of the Editor.

Francesco Galofaro has a PhD in Semiotics Research and is research associate member of CUBE (Centre University of Bologna, Ethnosemiotics). He teaches semiotics of design at Milan Polytechnic, Faculty of Design; Master in Design & Engineering. He is co-founder and editor of the magazine Ocula. His main areas of research are health, cultural heritage and mathematical linguistics.

For members and supporters who have read the Idealmente Onlus Association article, on the occasion of the Easter celebrations, it includes an amusing video, starring jazz dancer Vittorio Gassman and a greeting to the North East * Ska Jazz Orchestra.