Call for Papers: “Madness, violence, and power: A radical anthology”

 ~  Andrea Daley  (York  University,  Toronto,  ON,  Canada) 

~  Lucy  Costa (Systemic  Advocate, The  Empowerment  Council:  A  Voice for Clients  of CAMH,  Toronto, ON,  Canada) 

~ Peter Beresford (Brunel University, Uxbridge, England, UK) 

The  editors  are working  with  an  international  advisory  group  that  includes  service users/survivors  from  the  UK, Germany and Canada. 

Summary of Topic 

This  interdisciplinary  anthology  will discuss  violence  as  manifest  in  the  lives  of diversely-situated people  who identify  in  various  ways  including  but not limited  to mental  health services  users;  people  with  mental illness, psychiatric  disabilities  or    psychosocial disabilities;  psychiatric  survivors/consumers, and  neurodivergent  (herein referred  to as  ‘people who have had  contact  with psychiatry  and  the mental health  system’).  We  are  motivated by an  apparently  increased discussion  and  coverage of violence  in  relation  to ‘mental illness’  within  the  public  sphere including the media, governments, community agencies, and psychiatric and penal institutions. 

Our goal  is  to challenge  common  ways  of talking  about  violence  related to  people  who  have had  contact  with psychiatry  and  the mental  health  system.  These  common  ways  include biomedical  frameworks  and  statistical assertions that position  people with psychiatric  diagnosis  as  more likely  to  be victims  of violence and  enact violence compared  to people without  psychiatric  diagnosis.   This  narrow  binary  separates  violence from  its  social context, often reducing it to an individual issue. 

The  purpose of the  anthology  is  to broaden  understandings  of violence in  the lives  of  people  who have  had  contact with  psychiatry  and  the  mental health system  and  develop  current  debate  in  ways that explore the  impacts  of systems  and  institutions  that  manage ‘abnormality.’  Another  purpose  is  to examine the role of  service  users  in legal, social, policy and medical transformations in relation to such systems and institutions. 

This  interdisciplinary  anthology  will bring  together  people thinking, researching, writing  and  taking  action  about new  considerations  of power,  violence,  systems  and  institutions in  relation  to  people  who have  had  contact  with psychiatry  and  the mental  health  system. It will include academic  and  non-academic  community  members, activists and  allies  within  the consumer/survivor,  ex-patient  and  Mad movements. We are seeking  first  person  narratives, empirical research  studies  (quantitative and/or  qualitative), and  theoretical contributions  encompassing  a  range of critical theories  including  feminist, queer,  critical  race,  intersectional and  post-colonial as  informed by consumer/survivor, ex-patient, Mad  and  critical disability  movements.  We welcome a  broad  range of contribution styles/formats including artistic contributions including poetry, visual art and photography. 

We welcome papers  that  utilize critical  conceptual  frameworks  that  may include topics  related  to  the following themes: 
Neoliberal  discourses 

o  How do neoliberal discourses  on  ‘health’  and  ‘community  engagement’  depoliticize issues  of  social (in)justice, inequality  and  inequity? 

o  How does the neo-liberal  project  of  medicalizing  social justice  issues  impact  people  who have had contact  with psychiatry and the mental health system? 

Laws,  legislations&  policy frameworks 
o  How do laws, legislations  and  policy  frameworks  serve to  control and  govern  ‘people who  have had  contact with  psychiatry  and  the  mental health system?    Is  this  violence? 
o  How do questions of  power, autonomy  and  dependency  underlie:    hate  crime  legislation;  employment  and disability  insurance policy;  immigration  policy;  community  treatment  orders  (CTOs);  disability  and  mental health  acts;  national  security  policy  (e.g., border  crossing), implementation  of  recommendations  from  inquests into deaths  of persons  involved  in  the  psychiatric  systems,  state power (via laws) which exclude entire  groups of people  such as  First  Nations/Indigenous  from  self-governance and  resources? 

o  How can and how does the  law support and  improve the possibilities  for  citizen  participation? 

o  What considerations  should  be made  on  the application,  relevance  and  utility  of international law  to challenge violence? 

o  What are the barriers  to accessing  justice within  the lower  and  higher  courts  and/or mental health tribunals? Are these barriers  a  type  of violence? 

o  Do people experience  violence  in  legal proceedings  (mental health  courts  and/or tribunals)  as  a  result  of intersections between  Aboriginality, race, ethnicity/culture, sex/gender, class, and/or  living  with  other  evident disabilities  (e.g., physical  disability)?    

 o  How does law reproduce  and  draw  from  other knowledge(s)  or disciplines  in  order  to constitute itself  as  valid and meaningful? 

The practices  of institutions and  the institutionalization  of practices 

o  How the practices  of institutions  and  the  institutionalization  of practices  serve to  enact  violence upon  people who have  had  contact  with psychiatry  and  the  mental health system? Practices  may  include those within education, social services  and  mental health, criminal justice and  policing, and  employment  institutions such as institutional frameworks  associated  with  eligibility  and  documentation  and/or  record keeping;  academic program  requirements  and  research including  ethics  and  funding  criteria;  police training  for, and  responses  to, ‘emotionally  distressed people’;  patient  management  within  psychiatric  hospitals/institutions;  constructions  of mental disorders (DSM). 

Restorative justice  and  madness 

o  While people  who  have had contact  with  psychiatry  and  the mental  health system  are often  the  victims  of violence, and  the  risk  of offending  is  statistically  lower for  mental health  service users  than  the  general  public, this  section  will examine the  enactment  of violence  by  people who are  mental  health  service users. Authors  are asked  to engage with difficult  questions about ‘criminality’  within  Mad/consumer/survivor communities  while critically  exploring  issues  related to  the determination  of ‘perpetrators’  and  ‘victims’, the allocation  of community supports  and  community  responses  to violence such as  strategies  for  redress.  We  invite people who have  committed  violence  such as  assault to contribute.  While not necessarily  conceptualized as  ‘violence’, contributions  that  explore experiences  of self-harm  will also be  considered.  

Questions  for consideration: 

o  How do we analyse and  address  violence  when  enacted  by  individuals  with  mental health  issues/  madness without creating  a  culture  of silence, vilification,  and  apologies  or  excuses? 

o  What are the best  models/frameworks  to address  violence  that  move  us  from  the  biomedical discourse  of risk/safety  to shared  social  responsibility? 

o  What could  be the contribution  of people with experience of psychiatric  treatment  in  developing  an  alternative framework to understand and address violence? 
o  What do mental health service users  with a designation  of “Not  Criminally  Responsible”  or,  “Not Guilty  By Reason of Insanity” feel about their experiences in the forensic system? 

o  What are the implications  of  relying  on  oppressive  institutions/structures  to  address  violence in  the  mental health  service  user communities? 

o  What is the contribution  of  forced  psychiatry  (e.g.,  medication,  restraint, seclusion)  to  violence  committed  by (ex)  psychiatric  patients? 

Length:  Chapters  should  be approximately  5,000 words  in  length (including  references), but may  be  shorter depending  on  contribution  style  and  format (e.g., poem).  Authors  are invited to  submit  a  350-500  word abstract for  consideration  including author’s  affiliations,  contact  information,  and brief biography  by email to  the  editors  by  MAY  29,  2015: 

Andrea Daley, York  University,  Toronto,  ON  Canada,    

Lucy  Costa,  The  Empowerment  Council,  Toronto, ON  Canada, 

Peter  Beresford, Brunel University, Uxbridge, England,  UK,       

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