Mental Health and Madness: exploring socio-cultural approaches (X5100E)

15 credits, Level 4

Spring teaching

The ways we understand emotional distress, wellbeing, normality and insanity shape our attitudes and practices in relation to people diagnosed with a mental health difficulty. This can happen whether its framed as difference, problems of thought, a product of society and culture, or a biological mishap. This module explores the social influences that make up our understandings of madness – using this term to situate the module within social-cultural contexts.

The module will:

  • discuss the history of mental health practices
  • explore the emergence of user-led, alternative and radical movements seeking to transform conceptions of madness, wellbeing and care
  • consider the roles of media and art in constructing images of madness deconstruct notions of diagnosis.

You learn about the effect of gender, ethnicity, culture and class on mental health and its governance within society. You also reflect on the dynamic interactions between identity, wellbeing and ill-being. Teaching draws on examples from literature, film, the press, autobiography and scholarship to relate theory to lived experiences.


100%: Seminar


100%: Coursework (Portfolio)

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 150 hours of work. This breaks down into about 22 hours of contact time and about 128 hours of independent study. The University may make minor variations to the contact hours for operational reasons, including timetabling requirements.

We regularly review our modules to incorporate student feedback, staff expertise, as well as the latest research and teaching methodology. We’re planning to run these modules in the academic year 2023/24. However, there may be changes to these modules in response to feedback, staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let you know of any material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.