Women, Madness and Medicine

Women, Madness and Medicine

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Modern psychiatry is dominated by a biological medical understanding of mental disorder. But should we accept the conception of women this approach enshrines? Is it useful in dealing with mental distress or does it in fact act against women's interests? Denise Russell shows how the "scientific" approach of contemporary psychiatry causes problems for women and develops an alternative perspective on mental distress. "Women, Madness and Medicine" looks at the roots of modern psychiatry, its theoretical approach to women, and what shifting trends in diagnosis tell us about its social underpinning. Arguing at both an epistemological and empirical level, Russell challenges the biological base of conditions such as schizophrenia, depression, premenstural syndrome, anorexia, bulimia and female criminality. The work of women writers such as Phyllis Chesler, Luce Irigaray, Virginia Wolff and Janet Frame, are examined in order to develop an alternative way of looking at problems of mental distress in women. This approach attempts to dissolve the sanity/madness distinction using notions of oppression and repression and focusing on relations rather than individuals.
This book should be of interest to undergraduates and graduates in women's studies, psychiatry, psychology, philosophy and sociology.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 230 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 19.05mm | 430g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • index
  • 0745612601
  • 9780745612607

Table of contents

1. History of the Relationship Between Women and Psychiatry. 2. Modern Psychiatric Perspectives on Women. 3. Shifting Trends in Diagnosis. 4. Epistemological Problems with the Dominant Medical Psychiatric Perspective. 5. Women, Psychiatry and Criminality. 6. Contrasting Feminist Philosophies of Women and Madness: Oppression and Repression. 7. Women, Creativity, Reason and Madness. 8. Beyond Psychiatry.
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