The Social Construction of a Crazy Reality

Sue E. Estroff

in Making It Crazy

Published by University of California Press

Published in print June 1985 | ISBN: 9780520054516
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520907751 | DOI:
The Social Construction of a Crazy Reality

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This chapter explains what is occurring in the interaction among clients, and between the clients and others. The aim is to clarify the multiple meanings inherent in the author's interpretation of “making it crazy.” Several central concepts and premises are included in the symbolic interactionist approach: meaning or significance; the intersubjective nature of reality; the self as subject and object and as a product of social process; and the interpretation of events, persons, and self through interaction with others as a force for maintaining and altering reality. One might surmise that clients not only accept and elaborate their differentness but also hate, fear, and reject them at the same time. The processes through which the clients, and nearly all with whom they interact, have participated in the construction of a social and perhaps personal reality and identity that ensures and perpetuates their existences as long-term psychiatric patients have been summarized.

Keywords: psychiatric patients; crazy; symbolic interactionist approach; meaning; intersubjective nature; social process

Chapter.  10206 words. 

Subjects: Medical Anthropology

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