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Pathologies of the West

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Pathologies of the West

The Anthropology of Mental Illness in Euro-America



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Pathologies of the West: The Anthropology of Mental Illness in Euro-America by Roland Littlewood
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Psychiatry conventionally regards spirit possession and dramatic healing rituals in non-European societies as forms of abnormality, if not mental illness. Roland Littlewood, a psychiatrist and social anthropologist, argues that this view developed as Western psychiatry obscured the political origin of its own disturbing cultural patterns. This work is an approach to psychiatric illness in its international perspective and an introduction to developments in the social anthropology of medicine. It examines critically the relevance of phenomenological, structural and ethological approaches to understanding extreme personal experience. Professor Littlewood argues that anthropology must not simply provide a "cultural" alternative to sociological critiques of medicine, whilst psychiatry itself has to take into account the personal embodiment of cultural values.

Table of Contents

Psychiatry's culture - Against pathology - The butterfly and the serpent -...and the nurse and others - The instrumental body in the transition to modernity - Perverse masculinity of the domestic siege - Military rape - Genetic sexual attraction - Disorders of the Victorian self - Multiple personality returns: the dialogue between reason and necessity

Author Biography

Roland Littlewood is a clinical psychiatrist and Professor of Anthropology and Psychiatry at University College London, where he is the joint-director of the Centre for Medical Anthropology. He is a past President of the Royal Anthropological Institute. He is the author of many books, including Pathology and Identity (1993) which was awarded the Wellcome Medal for Anthropology As Applied to Medicine.
Release date Australia
March 1st, 2002
Country of Publication
United Kingdom
3 illus
Continuum International Publishing Group Ltd.
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