In this work some of the insights and methods of a
particular form of political theology, liberation theology,
are used as a basis for constructing a critique of a specific
type of pastoral care, that undertaken in English and Welsh
In the first part of the thesis the background,
character and method of liberation theology are described.
A 'methodological spiral' based on, and integrating, some
of the insights and methods of liberation theology is outlined.
This determines the rest of the work. It requires that the
socio-political factors surrounding pastoral care should be
thoroughly explored using the insights of the social sciences,
and that particular attention should be paid throughout to
matters of injustice, inequality and impotence before pastoral
care and its political significance is assessed and suggestions are made for its re-orientation.
The psychiatric hospital and socio-political factors
affecting its contemporary functioning and the lives of those
living or working within it is the focus of the next part.
The evolution of the psychiatric hospital is considered and
its contemporary goals and organisations are described. A
staff/patient divide is identified and patient and staff groups
and relevant socio-political factors affecting them and their
mutual interaction are surveyed. An examination of some models
of mental disorder and modes of treatment and their socio¬
political implications is undertaken. Finally, some of the
problems of the contemporary psychiatric hospital are outlined
and the future of this institution is discussed. It is
concluded that socio-political factors play a large part in
the functioning of the psychiatric hospital and that the
inequalities and injustices revealed in the foregoing analysis
can contribute to human suffering.
Eileen Witts has worked long and very hard to transform
my original manuscript into a legible document. Thanks are
hardly adequate as a tribute to her industry and perseverance.
In the light of these findings, the final part is
concerned with an examination of the practice and ideology of
pastoral care in the psychiatric hospital. The role of the
chaplain in the hospital is described. Socio-political
awareness among chaplains is assessed and found to be minimal.
A Marxist analysis of the role of the chaplain reveals a
mainly conservative function. Turning to the wider pastoral
care tradition of the Church, it is argued that the socio¬
political dimension is not incompatible with the essential
nature of pastoral care and that it should on occasion
stand at the centre of this activity. In conclusion, some
principles orientating pastoral care in psychiatric hospitals
towards socio-political awareness and commitment are outlined.