Chapter

the Sociocultural Context of Illness and Craziness

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: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520054516.003.0010
the Sociocultural Context of Illness and Craziness

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This chapter addresses the sociocultural setting of illness and craziness. Long-term psychiatric patients are entwined in the paradoxes of constructing and living with a crazy identity and with uncertain illness in a sociocultural environment that communicates and denies, enhances and devalues who they are and how they are. This is what “making it crazy” means. Those people with sudden, acute psychoses may not have developed an impaired identity over time and may thus have easier exit from their patienthood and the conceptions formed among their significant others. Sociological data is plentiful documenting the influence and association of sociocultural factors with the incidence and prevalence of psychosis; data is more scarce in the area of prognosis. It is suggested that “making it crazy” represents an incorrigible proposition. An incorrigible proposition never admits to falsity, regardless of events.

Keywords: illness; craziness; psychiatric patients; sociocultural environment; crazy identity; psychosis; patienthood

Chapter.  3371 words. 

Subjects: Medical Anthropology

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