Stories, visibility and operator principles of deinstitutionalization in mental health: narratives of the possible

Ana Carolina Simoni Simone Moschen About the authors


This article describes specific professional experiences that helped construct deinstitutionalization processes seeking not only to end asylums but also discard their logic. For such, we chose to share narratives of this experience, based on what was experienced, facing the Benjaminean provocation that points to the precariousness of a discursive position, going against technicism and generalization while calling out to take responsibility. The daily narratives of this deinstitutionalization practice led us, on the one hand, to evidence the complicities between the legal-institutional and biopolitical models of power in the production of disposable lives, as pointed out by Giorgio Agamben, which are included in the legal order as an exception, if we take as reference what is seen as the norm. On the other hand, engaging in such narratives allows us to relive some effects of the experience itself, including conditions for returning to life in the community by people who have been institutionalized due to their likely disability or because of so-called dangerousness associated with mental illness. Thus, this manuscript serves as a testimony of collective activity that could establish a connection between the singular and the collective, whose raw material were reconstructed stories of asylums and neighborhoods, which we chose to name as “narratives of the possible.”

Deinstitutionalization; Mental Health; Narratives

Faculdade de Saúde Pública, Universidade de São Paulo. Associação Paulista de Saúde Pública. Av. dr. Arnaldo, 715, Prédio da Biblioteca, 2º andar sala 2, 01246-904 São Paulo - SP - Brasil, Tel./Fax: +55 11 3061-7880 - São Paulo - SP - Brazil