The concept of territory in Mental Health

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The term “territory” and its correlates have become commonplace in the field of Mental Health since the psychiatric reform, a potentially emancipatory milestone in non-hospital-centered ideals. However, in a previous empirical study, we found a lack of consistent concepts and practices (corresponding to the use of this term) in the territorial reinsertion of persons with mental illness. To clarify the term’s various uses and its possible correlations in practice, we have conducted a systematic survey of scientific articles and official documents, comparing them to each other and with the concept of territory from Critical Geography. We conclude that in the Mental Health field in Brazil, despite numerous and repeated critical efforts, a functional notion of territory has prevailed, overlooking power relations and symbolic appropriations, increasing the tendency of subjecting the reinsertion of persons with mental illness to a given territory rather than favoring socio-spatial transformations for the coexistence of differences.




Furtado, J. P., Oda, W. Y., da Costa Borysow, I., & Kapp, S. (2016). The concept of territory in Mental Health. Cadernos de Saude Publica. Fundacao Oswaldo Cruz.

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