“What do we mean by an ‘active sociopolitical minority identity’ of madness?”

I have long been fascinated by the way identities are constructed, mobilised, assigned and challenged within the ‘realm of contention’ of the ‘psy’ disciplines. Patient, ex-patient, consumer, survivor, mental health service user: these terms are not benign, nor are they interchangeable; rather, alongside the strenuously contested lexicon of diagnosis-based labels, they have been shown to have a powerful effect in shaping people’s experience, perceptions and interactions.  

Summer Schrader, Nev Jones and Mona Shatell have just published an incisive and richly researched commentary on this issue. Their focus is the mad pride, hearing voices and other c/s/x [consumer/survivor/ex-patient] movements which seek “to de-pathologize unusual mental states.”  Placing an emphasis on the terms we choose rather than the labels we are assigned, they argue a “mad identity…is not so much about a person’s ‘intrinsic craziness,’ as the active and thoughtful positioning of the self with respect to dynamic social narratives regarding mental difference and diversity.”

Here is the full citation, with a link to the article available from Ruminations on Madness: Summer Schrader, Nev Jones and Mona Shatell, Mad Pride: Reflections on Sociopolitical Identity and Mental Diversity in the Context of Culturally Competent Psychiatric Care, Issues in Mental Health Nursing (2013) 34, pp. 62–64. Available here.

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