thereafter, their role was much more complex. Certainly, psychiatrists played a role in apartheid hegemony, but they also shaped and challenged the old custodial and disciplinary practices of psychiatry. By examining in particular the case of Demitrio Tsafendas, who assassinated the apartheid Prime Minister, H.F. Verwoerd in 1966, we are able to view the interconnected environment where practitioners, judges, the state, and the “mad” interrelated, and we see how constructions of the “mad” were highly politicized, confused, often contradictory and shaped by the various individuals involved. An historical examination of this case also allows us to place today’s crisis in perspective and offers insight into the origins and causes of these human rights abuses.
Rethinking ‘Mental Illness’
Bruce A. Arrigo. Criminal Justice, University of North Carolina, Charlotte
Justice and the Representation of Mental Illness: On Power, Desire, and Culture in Ultramodern Society
This paper explores the semiotic processes through which mental illness is manufactured in ultramodern society. By integrating the work of Foucault on power, Lacan on desire, and Baudrillard on culture, a conceptual framework that explains the territorialization of madness is proposed. This framework is then linked to how the systems of law and psychiatry behave – as reified and legitimized through the operation of the media – such that selective sign meanings for mental illness are conspicuously consumed by the public. The paper concludes by addressing the implications of power, desire, and culture in ultramodern society, especially when questions of citizenship, justice, and human rights are eclipsed by stylized and simulated hyper-real images. Case illustrations (e.g., Aileen Wuornos, Jeffrey Dahmer, Colin Ferguson) are used throughout to ground the theoretical work.
Peter Beresford. Centre for Citizen Participation, Brunel University
Developing a Social Model of Madness and Distress: Reconnecting Madness, Citizenship and Social Justice
The focus of this presentation will be the development by mental health service users/survivors of our own social approaches to and understandings of our experience, identity and treatment. The presentation will explore the view that existing dominant medicalised understandings of mental health service users based on a model of ‘mental illness’ are inherently at odds with securing their citizenship and social justice. Instead they have encouraged and extended understandings of mental health service users in terms of pathology, deviance and defect. This has supported a preoccupation with bioethical