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The Madness of Women : Myth and Experience - Jane M. Ussher

The Madness of Women

Myth and Experience

Paperback Published: 25th March 2011
ISBN: 9780415339285
Number Of Pages: 316

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Nominated for the 2012 Distinguished Publication Award of the Association for Women in Psychology!

Why are women more likely to be positioned or diagnosed as mad than men?

If madness is a social construction, a gendered label, as many feminist critics would argue, how can we understand and explain women's prolonged misery and distress? In turn, can we prevent or treat women's distress, in a non-pathologising women centred way? The Madness of Women addresses these questions through a rigorous exploration of the myths and realities of women's madness.

Drawing on academic and clinical experience, including case studies and in-depth interviews, as well as on the now extensive critical literature in the field of mental health, Jane Ussher presents a critical multifactorial analysis of women's madness that both addresses the notion that madness is a myth, and yet acknowledges the reality and multiple causes of women's distress. Topics include:

  • The genealogy of women's madness - incarceration of difficult or deviant women
  • Regulation through treatment
  • Deconstrucing depression, PMS and borderline personality disorder
  • Madness as a reasonable response to objectification and sexual violence
  • Women's narratives of resistance

This book will be of great interest to students and scholars of psychology, gender studies, sociology, women's studies, cultural studies, counselling and nursing.

Industry Reviews

"Ussher writes persuasively and clearly, using nuggets of examples to provoke thought. ... This was a fascinating and evidence-based book, which never claims to be representing two sides of a debate. I think Ussher might argue that her side of the argument needs more airtime in the psychiatric climate it is being voiced in, and perhaps she is right." -- Lucy Maddox, Chartered Clinical Psychologist, London, UK, in The Psychologist "This book is beautifully written and the arguments powerful and sophisticated, whilst at the same time accessible. The author's mastery in research and writing are clearly evident. The book is destined to become a 'classic' text in feminist psychology. A pleasure to read!" -- Michelle Lafrance, Department of Psychology, St. Thomas University, Canada "This book is a compelling, hard-hitting and illuminating analysis of the social cultural, historical and economic forces producing the madness of women. It is a powerful illustration of a long-standing feminist view -- that the personal is political." -- Ann Weatherall, School of Psychology, University of Wellington, New Zealand

Acknowledgementsp. x
The madness of women: myth or experience?p. 1
The daughter of hysteria: depression as a 'woman's problem'?p. 15
Labelling women as mad: regulating and oppressing womenp. 64
Woman as object, not subject: madness as response to objectification and sexual violencep. 110
The construction and lived experience of women's distress: positioning premenstrual change as psychiatric illnessp. 153
Women's madness: resistance and survivalp. 185
Appendixp. 221
Notesp. 232
Referencesp. 244
Indexp. 306
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780415339285
ISBN-10: 0415339286
Series: Women and Psychology
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 316
Published: 25th March 2011
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 23.11 x 15.49  x 2.29
Weight (kg): 0.5
Edition Number: 1