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In Crazy Like Us, Ethan Watters reveals that the most devastating consequence of the spread of American culture has not been its golden arches or bomb craters, but the bulldozing of the human psyche itself: it is in the process of homogenising the way the world goes mad.
For the past 30 years, America has been the world leader in mental-health research, and Western definitions of mental illness are prevailing over indigenous beliefs around the globe. In this book, journalist Ethan Watters travels from China to Tanzania to bring home an unsettling conclusion: as America introduces Westernised ways of treating mental illnesses, it is in fact spreading the diseases.
In post-tsunami Sri Lanka, Watters reports on the Western trauma counsellors who, in their rush to help, inadvertently trampled local expressions of grief, suffering, and healing; in Japan, Watters reveals the truth about a multi-million-dollar campaign by one of the world's biggest drug companies to change the Japanese experience of depression - literally marketing the disease along with the drug.
By examining the Western impact on the psyches of people in other cultures, Watters forces us to take a fresh look at our own approaches to mental health and healing. It turns out that we may have as much to learn from other cultures' beliefs about the mind as we have to teach them.
'This is without question one of the scariest books I've read in recent times ... Crazy like Us reveals what is undeniably the most disturbing aspect of globalisation so far.'
Published: 28th June 2010
Country of Publication: AU
Edition Number: 1