Viola Bernard and the case study of race in post-war America
in A history of the case study

It is in the US that the case study genre is reinvented within a politicised psychiatric-psychoanalytical framework in the work of Viola Bernard. Bernard’s writings pose enduring questions about the relationship between activism and US psychiatry, politics and race relations. This chapter traces Bernard’s efforts to develop a new, authoritative and politically effective narrative through her case notes and advocacy about black subjects. This involved mobilising the case study genre in the public domain at large, for political as well as medical purposes, in the context of a turbulent period in US history.

A history of the case study

Sexology, psychoanalysis, literature


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