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Books, Journals, New Media
July 23/30, 2003

Mental Illness

Author Affiliations

Books, Journals, New Media Section Editor: Harriet S. Meyer, MD, Contributing Editor, JAMA; David H. Morse, MS, University of Southern California, Norris Medical Library, Journal Review Editor.

JAMA. 2003;290(4):536. doi:10.1001/jama.290.4.536-a

From the high perspective of a career in psychiatry and numerous writings in current anthropology comes a mighty flood of observations upon the state of things in medical-psychiatric-sociologic-anthropologic thinking of Europe and America. The critique is passionate, and there is much to be dealt with.

The writer's experience and his long contemplation have given him, as he says, "an anti-medical sensibility." He is not alone. Many thoughtful persons have expressed unease about Western psychiatric culture and theory. This volume considers such matters as psychologic distress in women (with diagrams), the psychopathologies of disadvantaged groups, Gulf War syndromes, genocides, soldier rapes in recent wars, multiple personalities, "peripheral possession," "introspective witchcraft," theory of incest, "double consciousness," and more. If the reader seeks a connecting thread, it may be a collective cultural failure to recognize the ubiquitous realities of dehumanization, domination, and force exerted by man on man, man on woman, and doctor on patient.

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