Madness: An American History of Mental Illness and Its Treatment

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The concept of madness is, of course, personally experienced, but because of its intimate relationship to the sociocultural context, it is also anthropologically constructed, culturally represented and socially controlled--all of which make it a topic rife for sociological analysis. Using a range of historical and contemporary textual material, this book exercises the sociological imagination to explore some of the most perplexing questions in the history of madness, including why some behaviors, thoughts and emotions are labeled mad while others are not; why they are labeled mad in one historical period and not another; why the label of mad is applied to some types of people and not others; and by whom the label and its consequences are applied.