The Spatial Organization of Psychiatric Practice: A Situated Inquiry into ‘Healing Architecture’

Thorben Peter Simonsen

Research output: Book/ReportPhD thesis

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This dissertation is about the spatial organization of contemporary psychiatric practice, about ‘healing architecture’ in psychiatry. I take ‘healing architecture’ to represent a particular effort to spatially and materially organize contemporary psychiatric practice. The problem motivating my inquiry is not about how architecture and space mediate health outcomes and promote patient recovery, what ‘healing architecture’ is or should be, but rather, what it actually does. How architecture in health care settings contributes to the ordering of space and interaction, enabling certain practices, while constraining others is, I argue, largely eclipsed in the social science literature and thus a key point of convergence throughout the dissertation. The inquiry is brought to bear on a purpose-built psychiatric hospital in Slagelse, Denmark, opened in late 2015. With ‘healing architecture’ and the idea of recovery literally built into the bricks and mortar of the building, the new hospital in Slagelse is considered the vanguard of contemporary hospital design, representing the future of psychiatric inpatient facilities. As such, the Slagelse Hospital can be understood as a paradigmatic case for considering the spatial organization of contemporary psychiatric practice. When the subtitle of this dissertation is a situated inquiry into ‘healing architecture’ it is because I consider the novel spatial circumstances of the Slagelse site based on detailed ethnographic fieldwork and by empirically investigating how the relationships between space and interaction are ordered in and through psychiatric practice.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationFrederiksberg
PublisherCopenhagen Business School [Phd]
Number of pages250
ISBN (Print)9788793956162
ISBN (Electronic)9788793956179
Publication statusPublished - 2020
SeriesPhD Series

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