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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 ...

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