With a fine-tuned ethnographic sensibility, Janis H Jenkins explores the lived experience of psychosis, trauma, and depression among people of diverse cultural orientations, revealing how mental illness engages fundamental human processes of self, desire, gender, identity, attachment, and interpretation. Extraordinary Conditions illuminates the cultural shaping of extreme psychological suffering and the social rendering of the mentally ill as non-human or not fully human. Jenkins contends that mental illness is better characterized in terms of struggle than symptoms and that culture is central to all aspects of mental illness from onset to recovery. Her analysis refashions the boundaries between the ordinary and the extraordinary, the routine and the extreme, and the healthy and the pathological. This book asserts that the study of mental illness is indispensable to the anthropological understanding of culture and experience, and reciprocally that understanding culture and experience is critical to the study of mental illness.
List of Figures and Tables Prelude and Acknowledgments Introduction: Culture, Mental Illness, and the Extraordinary PART ONE. PSYCHOSIS, PSYCHOPHARMACOLOGY, AND FAMILIES 1. Cultural Chemistry in the Clozapine Clinic 2. This Is How God Wants It? The Struggle of Sebastian 3. Emotion and Conceptions of Mental Illness: The Social Ecology of Families Living with Schizophrenia PART TWO. VIOLENCE, TRAUMA, AND DEPRESSION 4. The Impress of Extremity among Salvadoran Women Refugees 5. Blood and Magic: No Hay que Creer ni Dejar de Creer 6. Trauma and Trouble in the Land of Enchantment Conclusion: Fruits of the Extraordinary Notes Works Cited Index