Madness, fear, and control in Bangladesh: Clashing bodies of power/knowledge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This article presents an understanding of how Bangladeshis cope with madness in relation to two assumptions: that systems of knowledge and of power are coterminous, and that actors in medical encounters draw on incompatible and unequal bodies of knowledge-power. I first offer a perspective on psychiatry, emotion, and discourse in Bangladesh as a society increasingly caught up in globalizing modernity. Then I present two types of data to illumine tensions between various attempts to control the fears associated with schizophrenia. The first is a set of exchanges in the advice column of a new popular psychiatry magazine in Bangladesh that inculcate new perspectives on self. Those who write to the editors signal their fears of what might, in the end, be impossible to control. Answers from the psychiatrists who edit the magazine reflect discourses circulating on the web, at international conferences, and at the institutions in the United Kingdom and the United States where one of them received his training. The second data set consists of video recordings of persons diagnosed with schizophrenia interacting with families and/or psychiatrists. In part because of knowledge-power asymmetries, attempts at controlling fears surrounding schizophrenia in these four cases fail to address the depths, tacitness, embodiment, and narrative embedding of anxieties experienced by all parties. I close with an argument about the implications for theories of culture and of medical pluralism that arise from cases in which the local Self is experienced from the perspective of powerful Others.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)357-375
Number of pages19
JournalMedical Anthropology Quarterly
Volume18
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2004

Fingerprint

Bangladesh
Fear
Psychiatry
schizophrenia
anxiety
Schizophrenia
Ego
psychiatrist
psychiatry
magazine
Cultural Diversity
Video Recording
discourse
video recording
pluralism
asymmetry
modernity
Emotions
emotion
Anxiety

Keywords

  • Bangladesh
  • Globalization
  • Power
  • Psychiatric discourse
  • Schizophrenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Cite this

Madness, fear, and control in Bangladesh : Clashing bodies of power/knowledge. / Wilce Jr, James M.

In: Medical Anthropology Quarterly, Vol. 18, No. 3, 09.2004, p. 357-375.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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