The engaged academic: academic intellectuals and the psychiatric survivor movement

Cresswell, Mark and Spandler, Helen orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-0970-5141 (2012) The engaged academic: academic intellectuals and the psychiatric survivor movement. Social movement Studies: Journal of social, Cultural and Political protest, 11 (4). pp. 138-154. ISSN 1474-2837

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This paper considers some political and ethical issues associated with the ‘academic intellectual’ who researches social movements. It identifies some of the ‘lived contradictions’ such a role encounters and analyses some approaches to addressing these contradictions. In general, it concerns the ‘politico-ethical stance’ of the academic intellectual in relation to social movements and, as such, references the ‘theory of the intellectual’ associated with the work of Antonio Gramsci. More specifically, it considers that role in relation to one political ‘field’ and one type of movement: a field which we refer to, following the work of Peter Sedgwick, as ‘psychopolitics’, and a movement which, since the mid- to late-1980s, has been known as the ‘psychiatric survivor’ movement—psychiatric patients and their allies who campaign for the democratisation of the mental health system. In particular, through a comparison of two texts, Nick Crossley's Contesting Psychiatry and Kathryn Church's Forbidden Narratives, the paper contrasts different depths of engagement between academic intellectuals and the social movements which they research.

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