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development - and its pathological disorders.

Results: ‘Symbolic Forms’ which emerge as magic, myth, language, religion, law, politics, science, the arts and others are transcultural universal phenomena and can be seen as ‘invariants’ in a ‘Matrix of Mental Formation’. This artificial construct of culture breaks down in mental crisis.

Conclusion: Psychiatric illness is always connected to a breakdown of ‘Symbolic Formation’. Its typical symptoms are not a lack of organic functioning - but derive from an inability to manage its complex ‘meanings’ in the constant change of parallel frames of reference. A structural concept (Matrix) of underlying relational order to change psychopathological classification is presented.

Christina Martens. Human and Social Development, University of Victoria

Performing Borderline, Performing Bi-polar:  Theorizing a Politics of Distress

It is undeniable that people experience distress. How both the nature of the distress and the experience of it come to be understood is contingent on multiple factors including: social, cultural, economic, gender, and spatial conditions of the time in which it is theorized. Also important in how we understand distress are particular ontological and epistemological assumptions that are inherent in discourses on health and citizenship.  Particular discourses, practices and technologies that support and naturalize particular meanings of distress shift through time and place, acquiring and losing meaning. Distress has come to be understood, since at least the 19th century, through the ever more specific discourses of psychiatric disorder and illness. While many conceptualizations of distress have been investigated (see eg. Micale 1995; Hacking 1995; Figert 1995; Stoppard 2000; Gremillion 2003; and Davidson 2003), the purpose of this paper is to extrapolate a politics of distress that identifies particular performances as Bi-polar disorder or Borderline personality disorder.

Rebecca Godderis. Sociology, University of Calgary

Risky Moms: Psychiatric Discourse about Postpartum Depression

Over the past ten years, the condition known as postpartum depression (PPD) has received a great deal of attention in the mental health literature.  Studies have focused on demonstrating the link between maternal depression and an increase in a child’s risk of mental health and social problems, including depression, anxiety, conduct disorder, and other developmental issues.  Although there appears to be consensus about the harm PPD can cause to children and families, psychiatric researchers have yet to clearly isolate the cause or establish the standard characteristics of this condition.  This ambiguity is reflected in the disagreement between the current DSM classification of PPD as a specifier with an onset of 4 weeks after parturition, compared to the research literature

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