`Fast becoming a contemporary classic... this book tries both to be critical and engender critical thinking in a number of ways. It offers an overview of a number of theories that address human distress as well as particular forms of "pathology". This book effectively highlights the way that western society has taken "normal"; and "abnormal" emotional states to be factual entities rather than the constructed understandings of human phenomena that they are.... should be on the reading list of every course//module that attends to human distress' - Journal of the Society for Existential Analysis This practical and accessible critique of the institutions, practices and presuppositions that underlie the st
Chapter 1: Madness and Modernity
Madness and Modernity
This first chapter provides a historical review of the development of ‘psychopathology’ as the study of mental ‘disorder’ in Western culture. We give an account of Michel Foucault's work as it applies to clinical categories, and then describe how psychiatric and abnormal psychology texts and practices can be deconstructed. We also introduce the notion of ‘deconstruction’ and show how it can be made relevant to this history of categorization, and to the ways in which some people have been marked off as different, as ‘other’.
The notions of madness and abnormal psychology as we understand them are particular and peculiar to our culture and our time. That is the starting point for our historical deconstruction of psychopathology. However, this assertion ...