Mental Disorder: Anthropological Insights

Mental Disorder: Anthropological Insights

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By Nichola Khan
Anthropological Insights
University of Toronto Press, Higher Education Division © 2016
World Rights
144 Pages
ISBN 9781442635333
Published Nov 2016
ISBN 9781442635340
Published Nov 2016
ebook (PDF format)
ISBN 9781442635364
Published Nov 2016
Full purchase $15.95
ebook (EPUB format)
ISBN 9781442635357
Published Nov 2016
Full purchase $15.95

This brief book introduces the ways in which contemporary anthropology engages with the "psych" disciplines: psychology, psychiatry, and medicine. Khan also widens the conversation by including the perspectives of epidemiologists, addiction and legal experts, journalists, filmmakers, activists, patients, and sufferers. New approaches to mental illness are situated in the context of historical, political, psychoanalytic, and postcolonial frameworks, allowing readers to understand how health, illness, normality, and abnormality are constructed and produced. Using case studies from a variety of regions, Khan explores what anthropologically informed psychology, psychiatry, and medicine can tell us about mental illness across cultures.

Nichola Khan is a social and psychological anthropologist, a chartered psychologist, and Principal Lecturer, School of Applied Social Sciences, University of Brighton.



1. Culture, Abnormality, and Disorder

2. Beyond Culture to the Suffering Subject

3. Culture, Psychiatry, and Cultures of Psychiatry

4. The Politics of Trauma

5. "The Big Three": Schizophrenia, Depression, and Bipolar Disorder

6. Globalization, Global Culture, and Global Mental Health

7. Drugs, God, and Talking: Shaping New "Orders" out of "Disorder"


Appendix I: Recommended Resources



I would certainly use this book for teaching undergraduates and graduates. Khan should be commended for skillfully weaving her way through a minefield of debates, controversies, and the thorny and controverted discourses that clash between the professions.

Arthur Kleinman, Harvard University

Mental Disorder provides a valuable introduction to the central issues and concerns of the anthropology of psychiatry and mental health. Well-conceptualized discussion questions and carefully chosen ideas for further reading and viewing make the text a key pedagogical aid.

Eugene Raikhel, University of Chicago