~ 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:
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, firstname.lastname@example.org
Lucy Costa, The Empowerment Council, Toronto, ON Canada, email@example.com
Peter Beresford, Brunel University, Uxbridge, England, UK, firstname.lastname@example.org