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A Marxist Theory of Mental Illness

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Some of you may be interested in Dr Bruce Cohen’s, new book which is out this month, Psychiatric Hegemony: A Marxist Theory of Mental Illness. The text has been endorsed by Derek Summerfield, Frank Furedi and Howard Waitzkin.

Here’s the blurb and further details:  

This book offers a comprehensive Marxist critique of the business of mental health, demonstrating how the prerogatives of neoliberal capitalism for productive, self-governing citizens have allowed the discourse on mental illness to expand beyond the psychiatric institution into many previously untouched areas of public and private life including the home, school and the workplace. Through historical and contemporary analysis of psy-professional knowledge-claims and practices, Bruce Cohen shows how the extension of psychiatric authority can only be fully comprehended through the systematic theorising of power relations within capitalist society.

From schizophrenia and hysteria to attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and borderline personality disorder, from spinning chairs and lobotomies to shock treatment and antidepressants, from the incarceration of working-class women in the 19th century to the torture of prisoners of the ‘war on terror’ in the 21st, Psychiatric Hegemony is an uncompromising account of mental health ideology in neoliberal society.

Book is available from this link. Review copies are available on request from reviews@palgrave.com If your institution has a subscription to the Palgrave/Springer catalogue, you’ll be able to download the PDF version from there. 

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