From the “abysses of subconscious” to the reasons of difference: esthetic creation and decolonization of unreason in the Brazilian Psychiatric Reform

João Arriscado Nunes Raquel Siqueira-Silva About the authors


The concept of abyssal line, proposed by Boaventura de Sousa Santos, signals the division of the world into “civilized” and “savage” zones. De-humanization associated with the attribution of unreason, madness or alienation and, more recently, of mental disorder appears as an expression of that abyssal line. One of the most radical and creative responses to this form of de-humanization was shaped as innovative forms of collective action and of the redefinition of the space of knowledges and modes of expression within the Brazilian Psychiatric Reform. This process - discussed here by drawing on the productions and practices of music groups - allowed the recognition of the esthetic dimension as a core element of the decolonization of knowledges and practices of mental health and of the invention of ecologies of knowledges radically decentering the authority of hegemonic forms of knowledge.

Mental health; Abyssal line; Brazilian Psychiatric Reform; Esthetics; Music groups; Ecology of knowledges

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