Unchained Minds: Self-Accounts of Madness
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This thesis explores the connection between the historical and social construction of madness in relation to how society currently views madness and schizophrenia. The anti-psychiatry movement has been outlined using the work of anti-psychiatrists David Cooper, R. D. Laing and Franco Basaglia. Foucault’s work regarding madness and the asylum is also reviewed to give an overarching analysis of madness, including analysis of its creation. With the help of Basaglia, madness as class warfare and social disease are explored. By connecting this analysis to the medicalization of schizophrenia and the use of counter-narratives, this thesis uses the work of Deleuze and Guattari to illustrate how mental illness can be redefined through deterritorialization, reterritorialization and lines of flight. Specifically, this thesis uses a Foucauldian textual analysis to examine self-narratives of schizophrenia including, the films A Beautiful Mind and The Best of Youth, and the books Two Accounts of a Journey Through Madness, The Center Cannot Hold and Living With Voices. These self-narratives illustrate the importance of considering an individual’s voice when determining treatment options for mental illness. Overall, a shift in thinking is needed. The findings suggest self-help groups are not enough on their own and should be combined with medical intervention. Self-narratives are an important step in the recovery process as it allows one to come to terms with their voice hearing experiences. As well, self-narratives are useful in the treatment process as a tool that can help to redefine dominant conceptualizations of schizophrenia and mental illness today.