By Stephen Harper (auth.)
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Extra resources for Madness, Power and the Media: Class, Gender and Race in Popular Representations of Mental Distress
While most forms of ‘madness’ involve distress to the sufferer, others – such as personality disorders – are characterised by verbal or sometimes physical violence towards others. Moreover, anthropological research into experiences of madness in certain cultural milieux suggests that the concept of ‘mental distress’ is not universally intelligible. Experiences of mental distress are inﬂected strongly by cultural context (Gu, 2006) and different cultures produce their distinctive forms or modes of mental distress (such as, famously within cultural psychiatry, running amuk in Malaysia).
Children’s television contains numerous insidious examples of stigmatising language (Philo, 1999: 59) 30 Madness, Power and the Media and Wilson’s et al. (2000) study of children’s television reveals a tendency to make light of mental distress through derogatory language and ‘wacky’ imagery. Valuable as these studies are, there is no space to consider them, or the programmes they analyse, here. While it is impossible to give an absolute deﬁnition of mental distress, some boundaries can be drawn nonetheless.
2000). Adopting quite different methodologies, the best and most substantial British research on the subject is the content analysis and audience reception work of the Glasgow Media Group in Media and Mental Distress (1996). Like Wahl, the Glasgow Media Group argue that mental distress stereotypes are widespread in the media and can have deleterious effects on the lives and well-being of sufferers and their families (Philo, 1996). In addition to the book’s inﬂuence among anti-stigma campaigners, the Glasgow group’s novel approach to focus group methodology – which involved encouraging people to write their own news articles based on newspaper headlines about stories involving mental distress – has strongly inﬂuenced audience research scholarship within Media Studies.
Madness, Power and the Media: Class, Gender and Race in Popular Representations of Mental Distress by Stephen Harper (auth.)