1st Edition

Culture-Bound Syndromes in Popular Culture

Edited By Cringuta Irina Pelea Copyright 2024
    338 Pages 32 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This volume explores culture-bound syndromes, defined as a pattern of symptoms (mental, physical, and/or relational) experienced only by members of a specific cultural group and recognized as a disorder by members of those groups, and their coverage in popular culture.

    Encompassing a wide range of popular culture genres and mediums – from film and TV to literature, graphic novels, and anime – the chapters offer a dynamic mix of approaches to analyze how popular culture has engaged with specific culture-bound syndromes such as hwabyung, hikikomori, taijin kyofusho, zou huo ru mo, sati, amok, Cuban hysteria, voodoo death, and others.

    Spanning a global and interdisciplinary remit, this first-of-its-kind anthology will allow scholars and students of popular culture, media and film studies, comparative literature, medical humanities, cultural psychiatry, and philosophy to explore simultaneously a diversity of popular cultures and culturally rooted mental health disorders.

    List of Figures

    List of Contributors


    List of Abbreviations

    Introduction: Towards a New Research Paradigm in Popular Culture

    Part I: East Asia

    Chapter 1: When Repressed Anger Fights Back: Hwabyung in Korean Popular Culture

    Seongha Rhee

    Chapter 2: Human Encaged: Hikikomori and Taijin Kyofusho in Japanese Popular Culture

    Cringuta Irina Pelea

    Chapter 3: A Qigong-Induced Mental Disorder: Zou Huo Ru Mo in Chinese Popular Culture

    Liu Jinxiu

    Part II: India and Southeast Asia

    Chapter 4: Cultural Syndromes in India: Understanding Widow Burning in Sati and Jauhar through Indian Literature

    Prachi Priyanka

    Chapter 5: The Yakshi Syndrome in Indian Popular Culture: Representation of Possessed Female Bodies in Indian Cinema

    Raj Sony Jalarajan and Adith K. Suresh

    Chapter 6: Seeking the Maternal Uncle: A Study of the Culture-Bound Syndrome Known as Nihu in the Karbis

    Sermily Terangpi

    Chapter 7: Old but Still Going Strong: Don Khong in Thai Popular Culture

    Kultida Khammee

    Chapter 8: Rethinking Amok: Indigenous Identity Affirmation in Malay Legends of Southeast Asia

    Hannah M. Y. Ho

    Part III: America and Native American culture

    Chapter 9: The Next Frame Could Be My Redemption: Signature Wounds and Tunnel-Vision Haunt War-Themed Cultural Artifacts

    Myra Tatum Salcedo

    Chapter 10: Wendigo Psychosis: From Colonial Fabrication to Popular Culture Appropriations and Indigenous Reclamations

    Vivienne Tailor

    Chapter 11: Cuban Hysteria. Tracing the Invention of a Culture-Bound Syndrome. (17981830)

    Roseli Rojo

    Chapter 12: Digital Culture-Bound Syndromes: A Sociocultural Perspective on Human-Technology Interaction, Mental Health, and Communication

    Cringuta Irina Pelea

    Part IV: Africa and the Middle East

    Chapter 13: To Kill or to Resurrect: Screening the Agency of Voodoo Priests, Sorcerers and Men of God in Cameroonian and Nigerian Films

    Floribert Patrick C. Endong

    Chapter 14: Belief in the Existence of the Jinn as a Cultural Syndrome: The Case of Sadeq Hedayat's Fiction

    Masoud Farahmandfar and Saman Taheri

    Chapter 15: Ghostly Environments: Faru Rab and the Transnational in Atlantics (2019)

    Chelsea Wessels


    Cringuta Irina Pelea is Lecturer in Communication Studies at Titu Maiorescu University, Romania. Her major research and teaching interests are popular culture, intercultural communication, Japanese studies, and public relations. She is the editor of the present volume, Culture-Bound Syndromes in Popular Culture, and has forthcoming chapters in the volumes Confronting Conformity: Gender Fluidity in Japanese Arts & Culture and Routledge Companion to Literature and Social Justice. She can be followed on Instagram @prof.irina.pelea.