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Look Inside Making Minds and Madness

Making Minds and Madness
From Hysteria to Depression


  • Date Published: May 2009
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521888639

$ 120.00

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About the Authors
  • Why do 'maladies of the soul' such as hysteria, anxiety disorders, or depression wax and wane over time? Through a study of the history of psychiatry, Mikkel Borch-Jacobsen provocatively argues that most mental illnesses are not, in fact, diseases but the product of varying expectations shared and negotiated by therapists and patients. With a series of fascinating historical vignettes, stretching from Freud's creation of false memories of sexual abuse in his early hysterical patients to today's promotion and marketing of depression by drug companies, Making Minds and Madness offers a powerful critique of all the theories, such as psychoanalysis and biomedical psychiatry, that claim to discover facts about the human psyche while, in reality, producing them. Borch-Jacobsen proposes such objectivizing approaches should be abandoned in favor of a constructionist and relativist psychology that recognizes the artifactual and interactive character of psychic productions instead of attempting to deny or control it.

    • A lucid critique of both psychoanalysis and biomedical psychiatry, providing readers with the tools to analyze and put in perspective the therapeutic and theoretical claims made by both disciplines
    • Exposes the true story of the patient behind the best-selling book and blockbuster TV movie 'Sybil' - new and shocking material debunks the story portrayed in the book and movie
    • Presents the controversial idea that mental illnesses are, for the most part, cultural and historical artifacts co-produced by therapists and patients
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'In understanding the relationship between society and psychiatric illness, Mikkel Borch-Jacobsen plucks the baton from the faltering hands of the psychoanalysts and carries it into the 21st century. Here, from a historian of psychiatry, are some strikingly original suggestions for understanding traumatic neurosis, seduction theory, multiple personality, and much more of the ground first plowed by Charcot in Paris and Freud in Vienna. A dazzling intellectual effort.' Edward Shorter, University of Toronto

    ' … powerfully assertive … Making Minds and Madness greatly advances our understanding of why psychiatry continues to falter as a science, and it challenges us to devise psychological thinking able to circumvent the knotty epistemological challenges of reducing mental suffering.' Anthropological Quarterly

    '… very well referenced and packed full of facts and hypotheses. … a fascinating read for any health professional seeking to expand their understanding, and certainly for medical [practitioners] everywhere.' Health Matters

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    Product details

    • Date Published: May 2009
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521888639
    • length: 276 pages
    • dimensions: 254 x 179 x 18 mm
    • weight: 0.7kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: making psychiatric history (questions of method)
    Part I. Microhistories of Trauma:
    1. How to predict the past: from trauma to repression
    2. Neurotica: Freud and the seduction theory
    3. A black box named 'Sybil'
    Part II. Fragments of a Theory of Generalized Artifact:
    4. What made Albert run?
    5. The Bernheim effect
    6. Simulating the unconscious
    Part III. The Freudian Century:
    7. Is psychoanalysis a fairy-tale?
    8. Interprefactions: Freud's legendary science (in collaboration with Sonu Shamdasani)
    9. Portrait of the psychoanalyst as a chameleon
    Part IV. Market Psychiatry:
    10. Science of madness, madness of science
    11. The great depression
    12. Psychotherapy today
    13. Therapy users and disease mongers.

  • Author

    Mikkel Borch-Jacobsen, University of Washington
    Mikkel Borch-Jacobsen is Professor of French and Comparative Literature at the University of Washington. He is the author of highly influential books on the theory and history of psychiatry and psychoanalysis and co-author of the best-selling Le Livre Noir de la Psychanalyse (The Black Book of Psychoanalysis).

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