Anthropological Perspectives on Mind, Madness and Mental Health (700L7)

30 credits, Level 7 (Masters)

Spring teaching

Anthropology makes a rich contribution to contemporary work on mental health. For example, anthropologists have been closely involved in current discussions over efforts by the Movement for Global Mental Health to ‘scale up’ mental health provision across the globe. They have entered into long-standing dialogue with other disciplines over the construction of psychiatry in countries of the Global North; and they helped to ensure that the latest edition (2013) of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual recognises culture to the greatest extent yet.

Anthropology’s engagement with questions of the mind and mental disorder dates back well over a century and has developed into an extensive field of knowledge and debate.

In collaboration with work in psychiatry, psychology and sociology, you explore sociocultural perspectives on the shaping of selfhood, emotions, distress and madness. 

You draw on anthropological research informed by fieldwork carried out in both the Global North and Global South: in communities, psychiatric clinics, marketing campaigns for psycho-pharmaceutical medications, religious settings, humanitarian interventions, and the international circuit of neuropsychiatric conferences and knowledge production.

You study:

• constructing self, psyche and disorder
• culture, affect and emotions
• classifying and managing madness
• life-course perspectives, culture and mental health
• addiction: desires, reward and regulation
• medicating mind: the anthropology of psycho-pharmaceuticals • Globalising mental health
• medical pluralism and mental health
• institutions, community and recovery.

Teaching and assessment

We’re currently reviewing teaching and assessment of our modules in light of the COVID-19 situation. We’ll publish the latest information as soon as possible.

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 300 hours of work. This breaks down into about 36 hours of contact time and about 264 hours of independent study. The University may make minor variations to the contact hours for operational reasons, including timetabling requirements.

This module is running in the academic year 2021/22. We also plan to offer it in future academic years. However, there may be changes to this module in response to COVID-19, or due to staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let our applicants know of material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.

It may not be possible to take some module combinations due to timetabling constraints. The structure of some courses means that the modules you choose first may determine whether later modules are core or optional.