From medications to diagnostic manuals, somatic sensations to brain images, the landscape of mental health and illness is replete with diverse materialities. Against the background of a wider ‘material turn’ across the social sciences and humanities, this edited collection will engage with these to offer the first text on mental ill-health and distress from a materialities perspective.
Cross-disciplinary explorations of personhood and subjectivity have offered nuanced understandings of lived experiences of mental ill-health. Explorations of such experiences as socio-culturally patterned have been accompanied by an attention to social marginalisation and structural inequalities. This has highlighted the dynamics of stigma and the structural contexts of mental ill-health and suffering. Scholars across the social sciences and humanities have also undertaken theoretical and applied evaluations of diagnostic and treatment processes, and the reach of their global flows. Yet, although these existing cross-disciplinary strands of thought have all acknowledged the roles of material environments, discourses and substances, to date none has drawn the myriad clinical, symbolic, and mundane (im)materialities of mental health, illness, and distress to the fore of analysis.
The editors of this volume are interested in soliciting chapters that explore how an attention to materialities offers a novel critical lens onto otherwise obscured aspects of mental ill-health and distress, ranging in focus from the intimate and individual, to the cultural and societal.
With a particular emphasis on engaging with lived experiences, we welcome contributions from scholars within anthropology and sociology; medical humanities; critical and cultural theory; critical psychiatry, psychology and public health; literary studies; architecture and design; science and technology studies; geography; and history. Relevant topics may include, but are not restricted to, the following:
- Object(ive)s of psychiatry: the materialities of diagnosis and treatment.
- Global flows of psychiatry’s objects: texts, pharmaceuticals, diagnostic and treatment devices.
- The materia medica of healing and (self-)care, both clinical and mundane.
- Somatic and experiential (im)materialities: voice hearing and visions.
- Bodies and minds: corporeal materialities and embodied subjectivities of distress.
- Materialities of neuroscience and the ‘new genetics.’
- Spaces and places of suffering and care: clinics, homes, neighbourhoods.
Interested authors are invited to submit an abstract of approximately 250 words, accompanied by a bio of 100 words, to Anna Lavis by 22 May 2016. If accepted, submissions of no more than 8,000 words each (including abstract, notes, and references) must be submitted by December 2016.