Making It Crazy

Sue Estroff

Published by University of California Press

Published in print June 1985 | ISBN: 9780520054516
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520907751 | DOI:
Making It Crazy

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This book explores the psychological, social, and economic facts of life for a group of discharged mental hospital patients living in Madison, Wisconsin. It both explicitly and inferentially raises questions about the rationale for deinstitutionalization. An anthropological field study, the work is the product of two years of intensive observation. It is a revealing enquiry into the lives of people whose welfare the United States has sought to promote by revolutionizing its system of psychiatric care. The book provides an account of the lives and problems of the mentally ill trying to make it in the community. It describes the wide range of coping strategies used by clients in their everyday existence. The book's main contention is that the systems of control, labeling, and rewards all work together to keep these people in their crazy role.

Keywords: mental hospital patients; Madison; deinstitutionalization; anthropological field study; welfare; psychiatric care; mentally ill; community; coping strategies; system of control

Book.  338 pages.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Medical Anthropology

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Table of Contents

Medications in Making It Crazy


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