ⓘ Mad studies is a field of scholarship, theory, and activism about the lived experiences, history, cultures, and politics about people who may identify as Mad, m ..

                                     

ⓘ Mad studies

Mad studies is a field of scholarship, theory, and activism about the lived experiences, history, cultures, and politics about people who may identify as Mad, mentally ill, psychiatric survivors, consumers, service users, patients, neurodiverse, and disabled. Mad studies originated from consumer/survivor movements organized in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and in other parts of the world. The methods for inquiry draw from a number of academic disciplines such as womens studies, critical race studies, indigenous epistemologies, queer studies, psychological anthropology, and ethnography. This field shares theoretical similarities to critical disability studies, psychopolitics, and critical social theory. The academic movement formed, in part, as a response to recovery movements, which many mad studies scholars see as being "co-opted" by mental health systems.

                                     

1. Origins and scope

Richard A. Ingram, a senior research fellow in the School of Disability Studies at Ryerson University 2007, has been credited with coining the phrase "Mad Studies" at the First Regional Graduate/Undergraduate Student Disability Studies Conference at Syracuse University on May 3, 2008. In an academic article entitled "Doing Mad Studies: Making Nonsense Together," Ingram points to a number of theorists who created the intellectual groundwork for the field, including Nietzsche, Bataille, Blanchot, Deleuze, and Guattari.

In a 2014 Guardian article, Peter Beresford names Canadian scholars at the forefront of this academic field: "Mad studies has been pioneered by Ryerson and York Universities in Toronto, with key figures such as mental health survivors, activists and educators David Reville and Geoffrey Reaume and academics Kathryn Church and Brenda LeFrancois." Journalist Alex Gillis summarizes the spread of mad studies programs in a November 2015 article: "Soon after Ryerson and York launched mad studies courses in the early 2000s, similar courses began in Simon Fraser University’s department of sociology and anthropology, and more recently at Memorial University’s school of social work, Queen’s University’s school of kinesiology and health studies, and the history departments at Trent University and the University of Winnipeg. A few universities in England, Scotland and the Netherlands launched courses in the past two years, using Canadian courses as models."

Some dimensions of this emerging field may include research on the "social construction of mental illness, normalizing imperatives of the state and medicine, rapidly expanding nosologies categories of pathology for mental illness, collusions of pharmaceutical corporations and professional associations within psychiatry, connections between ecocide and mental stress, psychiatrization of nonhuman animals, representations of madness in media, history of consumer/survivor movements, and the rise and fall of mental treatments within scientific, medical, and lay communities."

                                     

2. Conferences and symposiums

  • September 6–8, 2016, Lancaster University, Disability Studies Conference stream that focused on Mad Studies
  • September 30 - October 1, 2015, Durham University, UK, Making Sense of Mad Studies
  • June 12–15, 2008, Simon Fraser University, Madness, Citizenship, and Social Justice Conference
  • June 17, 2015, Liverpool, UK, PsychoPolitics in the Twenty First Century: Peter Sedgwick and Radical Movements in Mental Health
  • May 2015, Bergen, Norway, Nordic Network for Disability Research, Mad Studies Symposium
  • September 9–11, 2014, Lancaster University, Disability Studies Conference stream that focused on Mad Studies
  • September 11–13, 2018, Lancaster University, Disability Studies Conference stream that focused on Mad Studies
  • June 2015, Lancaster University, Mad Studies and Neurodiversity- Exploring Connections
  • May 2012, Ryerson University, International Conference on Mad Studies
                                     

3. Key texts

  • Searching for a Rose Garden: Challenging Psychiatry, Fostering Mad Studies 2016
  • Decolonizing Global Mental Health: The Psychiatrization of the Majority World 2014
  • This is Survivor Research 2009
  • Psychiatry Disrupted: Theorizing Resistance and Crafting the Revolution 2014
  • Deportation and the Confluence of Violence within Forensic Mental Health and Immigration Systems 2015
  • Disability Incarcerated: Imprisonment and Disability in the United States and Canada 2014
  • Mad Matters: A Critical Reader in Canadian Mad Studies 2013
  • Mad at School: Rhetorics of Mental Disability and Academic Life 2011
  • Madness, Distress, and the Politics of Disablement 2015
  • Psychiatry and the Business of Madness: An Ethical and Epistemological Accounting 2015
                                     
  • self - identify as mad As noted in Mad matters: a critical reader in Canadian mad studies LeFrançois, Menzies and Reaume, 2013 Mad Studies can be defined
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