As psychiatry has developed it has proved to be susceptible to the influence of contemporary social and political mores. With its origins in nineteenth-century Europe, psychiatry evolved as an ethnocentric body of knowledge, the vehicle of implicit and overt racism. Originally published in 1988 this author, however, saw no reason why the contemporary psychiatrist should not challenge this ethnocentrism. He provides a critical account of the development of psychiatry in relation to its cultural context and then examined contemporary practice of the time in the light of this development. Throughout, the book is informed by an awareness of issues of race and culture and of their difficult interactions, the author emphasising both the frequency of racist attitudes and the very real cultural distinctions in our society, distinctions that can be used to mask what are actually racist sentiments. What emerges is not just a plea for an anti-racist, culture sensitive psychiatry, but a blueprint for how this can be brought about. He argued that the shift towards community work and social psychiatry could reorientate the profession by confronting it with its social setting and responsibilities. This book represented a significant contribution to this literature for all mental health professionals and social scientists with an interest in this field at the time; the author has gone on to write many more.
Introduction. 1. The Culture of Psychiatry 2. Current Psychiatry 3. Cross-cultural Research 4. Socio-cultural Psychiatry 5. Racist Psychiatry 6. The Race–Culture Argument 7. A Blue-print for Change. References. Index.
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