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Title: Surveilling ‘stigma’: reading mental health literacy as a colonial text
Authors: Kurchina-Tyson, Adria
Keywords: mental illness;madness;nationalism;racism;classism;misogyny;white supremacy;colonialism;psychiatry;feminism
Issue Date: 16-Aug-2017
Abstract: The recent circulation of ‘mental health literacy’ texts in mainstream North American media conceptualizes ‘mental illness’ in medicalized terms as a response to what is referred to as ‘stigma’. This paper examines the roots of psychiatry in white supremacy to investigate the visualized juxtaposition of a racialized ‘madness’ against a normalized ‘mental illness’. First I explore theoretically the concepts of madness and mental illness, the identity politics of both concepts, and how these are framed and distinguished in dominant discourses. Second, using critical discourse analysis I suggest how Marc Lepine and Vince Li’s acts of violence are attributed to the production of racialized madness in Canadian news media. I then examine how mental illness is normalized in campaign and documentary films. Reading mental health literacy media as a colonial text, this research finds that stigma is framed as a primitive social behaviour in order to reproduce colonial pathologies rooted in psychiatry.
Appears in Collections:Interdisciplinary Humanities- Master's Theses
Master's Theses

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