Who is included in the Mad Studies Project?

Spandler, Helen orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-0970-5141 and Poursanidou, Dina (2019) Who is included in the Mad Studies Project? The Journal of Ethics in Mental Health, 10 . ISSN 1916-2405

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Mad Studies is an emerging new critical project. As such, its purpose and future direction is open to debate. In any new project, questions emerge regarding its boundaries; who is inside and outside, included or excluded? This paper explores questions of who (and what) is (or should be) included in the Mad Studies project. For example, we explore the place of those who are not ‘Mad positive’ or anti-psychiatry; the extent you need to be Mad identified to do Mad Studies; and the potential inclusion of a number of related conditions, experiences and perspectives (such as neurological diversity; chronic fatigues syndrome / myalgic encephalomyelitis ME/CFS; and psychedelic drug use). Whilst we do not argue that Mad Studies is exclusionary, nor that it should be all-inclusive, we do think it could be more attuned to potential exclusions, especially because these are often based on unhelpful binary oppositions (physical/mental; social/medical; psychiatry/anti psychiatry etc). Therefore, we make the case that Mad Studies could more explicitly interrogate underlying assumptions, not only of psychiatry and the ‘psy’ professionals, but also of pre-existing ‘critical’ approaches to madness. If so, it could be a truly ground breaking project.

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