Giovanni Jervis, an Intellectual of the Second Half of 20th Century

Luciano Mecacci


Main issues in the scientific work of Giovanni Jervis (1933-2009), psychiatrist, psychoanalyst and psychologist, are outlined. Although he was one of the leading members of the movement for abolishing the psychiatric institutions in Italy from the 50s to the 70s, he distinguished himself for his critical and rigorously scientific approach to the problem. His research was characterized by an historical view of the development of psychological processes and psychopathological phenomena, and according to him psychology and psychiatry theories (and especially psychoanalysis) should always be considered as historically-determined attempts to understand the human mind. In the last period of his scientific activity, Jervis was particularly engaged in a critical analysis of postmodern and relativistic theories of science, and strenuously attacked at second-hand ways of dealing with scientific, social and political questions. 


Key words: Antipsychiatry Postmodernism Psychoanalysis Psychology - Relativism

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