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50 Years after Deinstitutionalization: Mental Illness in Contemporary Communities

This is a call for proposals for Volume 17 of Advances in Medical Sociology, which will focus on the broad consequences of deinstitutionalization for individuals with mental illness, families and institutions in contemporary communities.

Additional information about the aims and scope of the volume is provided below.

Submission Information

Articles may be empirical contributions or critical commentaries, and may be between 5,000 and 10,000 words.

Each volume of Advances in Medical Sociology takes a focused approach to one subject or area of research, similar to a journal special issue. All papers are rigorously peer-reviewed, and the series is abstracted and indexed by Scopus and SocINDEX.

If interested in contributing, please submit a one-page proposal detailing the purpose, methodology/approach, findings, implications, and originality/value of the paper. Proposal are due no later than February 1, 2015.

Please send these to Brea L. Perry, Series and Volume Editor, at [email protected].

Volume 17 Aims and Scope

Throughout the 1960’s and 1970’s, a revolution in mental health policy and practice known as deinstitutionalization occurred in Europe and the United States. This movement was catalyzed in large part by criticisms of psychiatric institutions leveled by sociologist Irving Goffman and others, and resulted in the release of hundreds of thousands of people with serious mental illness from long-term care facilities into the community. It is widely acknowledged that these reforms held great promise, but have had numerous unintended negative consequences for people with mental illness and their families. Moreover, deinstitutionalization has strained the resources and reach of community-based mental health treatment systems, spilling into other institutions such as criminal justice and education.

Volume 17 of Advances in Medical Sociology attempts to take stock of deinstitutionalization’s legacies approximately 50 years after reintegration began in earnest, turning a critical lens toward contemporary problems and solutions related to mental illness in industrialized countries.

This volume will highlight pressing issues around mental health treatment, social and health policy, and the lived experiences of people and families coping with mental illness that were or continue to be significantly influenced by deinstitutionalization reforms.

Potential topics may include, but are not limited to: 

  • mental health and social policy
  • community mental health services
  • emergency department and inpatient mental health services
  • the mental illness experience
  • caregivers and families
  • homelessness
  • military veterans
  • violence and victimization
  • stigma and labeling
  • mental illness in the criminal justice system (including courts, policing, and prisons)
  • challenges associated with dual diagnosis
  • reinstitutionalization, and comparative cross-national perspectives.    

For more information about Advances in Medical Sociology or any of its award-winning volumes, please visit