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Disability and Madness – special edition of Disability Studies Quarterly

Editor’s Introduction, Winter 2013

This issue of Disability Studies Quarterly takes up the intersections of Disability Studies and what might be termed “Madness Studies.” While a formal field of “Madness Studies” may be in question, this phrasing builds on the Mad Pride movement and the activist works that preceded it. These activist works and efforts revolved largely around counteracting the shame of “mental illness” and sharing lived experiences to create a community of people who had been written off as crazy, unbalanced, and dangerous. As a community of scholars, activist, and artists who would have been cast off in those categories, we owe much to their courage and activism. From those efforts, come recent scholarly works that theorize experiences of madness. These writings have drawn heavily on Disability Studies to trouble the borders of normal/abnormal and sane/insane. Additionally, these works inspired the creation of this issue to bring together scholars working on madness and disability.

Within this issue are eight articles that dwell at the intersections of Madness Studies and Disability Studies. In the issue’s first article, Nev Jones and Robyn Lewis Brown consider the consequences that stem from the absence of consumer/survivor/ex-patient (C/S/X) perspectives in academic discourse. We move from there to three articles from Shayda Kafai, PhoebeAnn Wolframe, and John Derby that take an authoethnographic approach to theorizing the experience of psychiatric diversity. Scott Walin’s work on the performance of madness in “Next to Normal” offers a unique perspective that blends material from the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning musical with his experiences as a social worker. The next three articles offer different perspectives around madness. Elizabeth Donaldson’s work on LSD as a psychomimetic is a fascinating piece on the ways that early psychiatrists attempted to mimic the experience of schizophrenia and other diagnoses that share hallucinogenic components. Merrick Daniel Pilling’s article draws on the intersections of madness and queerness in the work place as it related to disclosure and coming out. Finally, Benjamin Bishop explores notions of “recovery” and “inclusion” through literature on gardening and nature. To the extent that anyone can take “pride” in the work of others, we are very proud to present this collection of works on madness and disability. We hope you will share in our enthusiasm while reading this issue of DSQ.

Noam Ostrander
Bruce Henderson

February 2013 meeting

Connecting People

Martin Webber is a Reader in Social Work at the University of York. He is coming to CCrAMHP to discuss the Connecting People project.  Connecting People operates through the principles and practice of co-production.  It is investigating the potential of social care workers to assist people with mental health problems to develop and enhance their social relationships. Rather than a traditional model of workers ‘doing’ and individuals ‘receiving’, workers and individuals co-create the objectives and actions together. Decision making is a shared process and both the worker and individual take responsibility for acting upon the decisions made.

You might like to look, before the meeting, at the Connecting People website:
and Martin’s blog which is here:

February 25th, 6-8 pm at the Friends Meeting House, Lancaster

April 2013 meeting

Psychiatry Beyond the Current Paradigm

Nav Cchina is one of 29 authors of Psychiatry Beyond the Current Paradigm which was published in the British Journal of Psychiatry in December 2012 (see abstract below). Nav will join us for a conversation about this paper and the ideas that come from the Critical Psychiatry Network.

Nav is a consultant psychiatrist, currently working in early intervention psychosis in Cumbria with the NHS. Nav is a member of the critical psychiatry movement. She has never done any research or attended conferences funded by pharma and doesn’t meet the reps or eat their lunches or use their pens and mousemats!

29th April, 6-8 pm at the Friends Meeting House, Lancaster


A series of editorials in this Journal have argued that psychiatry is in the midst of a crisis. The various solutions proposed would all involve a strengthening of psychiatry’s identity as essentially ‘applied neuroscience’. Although not discounting the importance of the brain sciences and psychopharmacology, we argue that psychiatry needs to move beyond the dominance of the current, technological paradigm. This would be more in keeping with the evidence about how positive outcomes are achieved and could also serve to foster more meaningful collaboration with the growing service user movement.

March 2013 meeting

A Well Being Partnership

Lionel Rice, one of the founding members of CCrAMHP and Employment Development Worker with Making Space in Lancaster will jointly lead this session with Michael Hallam, founder and director of the Small Green Consultancy Company.

Locally, there have been major changes in how mental health services are delivered. We have also seen significant decommissioning of traditional provision. How can we support people through this change – what really matters?
Can we add value and increase support to individuals through collaboration and the pooling of our resources? Lionel will be suggesting a simple collaboration – a “well being partnership”.

What shape could this take and what could the vehicle look like to deliver this?

March 25th, 6-8 pm at the Friends Meeting House, Lancaster

January 2013 Meeting

The next CCrAMHP will be on January 28th at the Friends Meeting House, Lancaster from 6-8pm.

Our guest this month is Liz Pitt and the focus for the evening will be ‘A service user perspective on Psychosis Research’. 
Liz Pitt talks about her personal experience of working as a service user researcher at Greater Manchester West Mental Health Trust and her involvement in the Recovery from Psychosis Research Programme.