By Emily Martin
Winner of the 2009 Diana Forsythe Prize, Committee for the Anthropology of technology, expertise, and Computing of the final Anthropology department, and the Society for the Anthropology of labor, American Anthropological Association
Manic habit holds an indisputable fascination in American tradition at the present time. It fuels the plots of best-selling novels and the imagery of MTV video clips, is stated because the driver for profitable marketers like Ted Turner, and is well known because the resource of the creativity of artists like Vincent Van Gogh and film stars like Robin Williams. Bipolar Expeditions seeks to appreciate mania's charm and the way it weighs at the lives of american citizens clinically determined with manic depression.
Anthropologist Emily Martin publications us into the attention-grabbing and infrequently stressful worlds of mental-health aid teams, temper charts, psychiatric rounds, the pharmaceutical undefined, and psychotropic medicinal drugs. Charting how those worlds intersect with the broader pop culture, she finds how humans residing less than the outline of bipolar sickness are usually denied the prestige of being totally human, even whereas modern the United States indicates a robust affinity for manic habit. Mania, Martin indicates, has emerge as considered as a far off frontier that invitations exploration since it turns out to supply reputation and earnings to pioneers, whereas melancholy is imagined as whatever that are supposed to be eradicated altogether with the aid of drugs.
Bipolar Expeditions argues that mania and melancholy have a cultural lifestyles outdoor the confines of analysis, that the reviews of individuals dwelling with bipolar sickness belong absolutely to the human , and that even the main so-called rational daily practices are intertwined with irrational ones. Martin's personal event with bipolar ailment informs her research and lends a private standpoint to this complicated tale.
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Extra resources for Bipolar Expeditions: Mania and Depression in American Culture
Madness is a strange and horrible thing: who has not felt this? 25 In the face of such deep terror, my strategy in this book is to open up the terrain between the comfortable rational and the terrifying irrational, allowing more complex kinds of description to emerge. 26 My focus will be on mania for two reasons. 27 Second, mania is the part of manic depression that we will see emerges onto the political economic stage as an object of desire. My argument is that we need to understand the meaning of manic behavior by describing what people do with “mania” and why they do it.
No person has an option about pursuing his or her development and the task is never done: the horizon of development is ever receding and the landscape that affects how one should develop is continuously changing. The development of a large new array of drugs to alter and enhance psychological states has changed the psychological environment for everyone, inside and outside the categories of mental illness, although not, of course, for everyone in the same way. The familiar debate over whether a person with mental illness is capable of rationality is changed beyond recognition when people in every corner of society are thinking about enhancing their mental processes and when domains like mania 16 Introduction that were formerly categorized as irrational have become a new continent waiting to be tapped for the sake of greater creativity and innovation, and, ultimately, greater productivity and proﬁt.
I thought of these excursions as “expeditions” into large-scale organizations whose activities I could only sample in the most modest way. The description that follows has the coherence of something written after the fact. Beginning in 1996, I attended seven support groups for manic depression, some on the East Coast and some on the West Coast, as regularly as I could for the better part of ﬁve years. For the most part, I observed and participated in ongoing group meetings and social events, and had informal conversations with people I met.
Bipolar Expeditions: Mania and Depression in American Culture by Emily Martin