intersections of psyc survivor movements and anarchist politics. Such self-organizing movements break with the habitus of representative, hierarchical, politics suggesting alternatives based in mutual aid (Kropotkin).
Efforts by people to define themselves, rather than submit to a definition imposed by welfare and other state professionals, include such diverse practices as direct action and alternative art or activist sociology. Many contemporary movements deploy forms of counter-science, alternative practices for alternative forms and objects of knowledge or expertise. Movements open up new spaces for knowledge production and allow for a body of counter-discourses to develop. These spaces, what Foucault terms heterotopias, are the “experiments in practice” for the coming communities (Agamben), the “citizens without citizenship.”
Some argue that agency is the defining characteristic of citizenship as citizens, more than simply being members of the worlds in which they live, are makers and creators. Citizenship is not about having certain rights or responsibilities, but about being able to participate in the community. The concept of citizenship is not only political, but also sociological. The emphasis is not upon representation or inclusion (since the question is not one of exclusion but the conditions of inclusion) but upon attempts to develop self-determination and autonomy.
Lydia Lewis. Sociology, University of Warwick, Coventry, England
Mental Health and Human Rights: A Common Agenda for User/Survivor and Women’s Groups?
In the UK, the formation of a new Equalities and Human Rights Commission is reinvigorating debates about mental health and human rights. Working across a variety of inequalities strands, its mental health agenda provides an important opportunity for coalescing the work of mental health service user/survivor and women’s groups. In this context, this paper examines the relationship between these groups, which has been marked by both convergence and contestation. Drawing on a study of mental health service user/community groups in one locality, it explores some of the ideological and identity issues which require working through in order to achieve a common agenda for change. The paper concludes with implications for future organising relating to: developing a consensual social model of distress; the medicalisation of violence; combating stigma and deauthorisation; and recognising common and differentiated identities and experiences.