`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 4: Representations of Madness
Representations of Madness
In this chapter we examine cultural representations of psychopathology, and the way in which images of ‘illness’ and ‘abnormality’ are structured in language, since in order to understand the practice of psychiatry it is necessary to understand culture. In the first section we show how cultural concerns and the concerns of psychopathology are not separate, but interwoven. We problematize the distinction between ‘lay’ and ‘professional’ knowledge, discuss the notion of madness as a cultural representation and show how traditional histories of psychopathology are fawed. We also describe the importance of language in representing madness and introduce Foucault's notion of panopticism to help us understand how representation is not a mental matter but something that is regulated and inscribed into our ...