Aliens and Alienists: Ethnic Minorities and Psychiatry by R. Littlewood

By R. Littlewood

During this vintage textual content the authors learn the hyperlinks among racism, mental sick overall healthiness and insufficient therapy of ethnic minorities. via a chain of case experiences they speak about: * the mental legacy of colonialism and slavery * the racist bias in psychiatric and mental concept * diagnostic bias * the function of faith in psychological overall healthiness or disorder * the worth of anthropological and pschoanalytic insights. The concluding bankruptcy during this variation stories the advance of 'transcultural psychiatry' and summarises adjustments in management of the psychological wellbeing and fitness Act.

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Extra info for Aliens and Alienists: Ethnic Minorities and Psychiatry

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Knowing a little about Rastafari, the white psychiatrist can perhaps develop some understanding of Calvin Johnson’s behaviour which might otherwise have seemed a little bizarre: his perception of his experiences in religious terms, the emphasis he placed on the lion on his 1966 coin when he was in a crisis, and the significance for him of 7 July (the seventh day of the seventh month, celebrated by many mystics such as the Essenes). His attitude to hospitals and the police seems reasonable, given the history of the Rastafarians and the experience of ethnic minorities in Britain.

ALIENS AND ALIENISTS 35 Because they were nearer to nature, psychotics and primitives were both resistant to hardship. Pinel described a Scottish farmer ‘with the physique of Hercules’ who had the reputation of curing mental illness: ‘His method consisted in forcing the insane to perform the most difficult tasks of farming, in using them as beasts of burden, as servants, in reducing them to an ultimate obedience with a barrage of blows at the least act of revolt’ [139]. When nonEuropeans and the mentally ill clearly did demonstrate intellectual capabilities, these merely represented even worse moral deficiencies: ‘excessive cunning’ and ‘mischievous brute-like intelligence’, as the psychiatrist Maudsley described his patients’ attributes [388].

It is common in Southern Europe and the Third World to accuse neighbours of practising witchcraft. Is this a sort of cultural paranoia which can be treated [234]? Or is it only abnormal if immigrants from these communities express the same beliefs here? Is it abnormal even then? If we assume that the behaviour of someone who is considered insane in Britain, say an Italian immigrant with religious visions, is none the less normal because he comes from a society in which such behaviour is acceptable, we run into another difficulty.

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