While mental illness and mental health care are increasingly recognized and accepted in today’s society, awareness of the most severely mentally ill—as well as those who care for them—is still dominated by stereotypes. Managing Madness in the Community dispels the myth. Readers will see how treatment options often depend on the social status, race, and gender of both clients and carers; how ideas in the field of mental health care—conflicting priorities and approaches—actually affect what happens on the ground; and how, amid the competing demands of clients and families, government agencies, bureaucrats and advocates, the fragmented American mental health system really works—or doesn’t.
In the wake of movies like One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Shutter Island, most people picture the severely or chronically mentally ill being treated in cold, remote, and forbidding facilities. But the reality is very different. Today the majority of deeply troubled mental patients get treatment in nonprofit community organizations. And it is to two such organizations in the Midwest that this study looks for answers. Drawing upon a wealth of unique evidence—fifteen months of ethnographic observations, 91 interviews with clients and workers, and a range of documents—Managing Madness in the Community lays bare the sometimes disturbing nature and effects of our overly complex and disconnected mental health system.
Kerry Michael Dobransky examines the practical strategies organizations and their clients use to manage the often-conflicting demands of a host of constituencies, laws, and regulations. Bringing to light the challenges confronting patients and staff of the community-based institutions that bear the brunt of caring for the mentally ill, his book provides a useful broad framework that will help researchers and policymakers understand the key forces influencing the mental health services system today.
In Managing "Modernity," Rudra Sil examines how institution-builders respond to the competing influences of institutional models and inherited social legacies as they attempt to generate and sustain authority in late-industrializing societies. Through a historical and comparative study of large-scale enterprises in Japan and Russia, the book examines the impact of different institution-building strategies on managerial authority, invoking the experience of postwar Japan to highlight the benefits of a syncretic approach that selectively integrates adaptable features of borrowed institutions with portable norms inherited from preexisting communities.
Managing "Modernity" engages a variety of intellectual perspectives in the social sciences. The theoretical approach represents a conscious effort to overcome the contentious debates in political science and sociology among proponents of historical institutionalism, cultural analysis, and rational-choice theory. The substantive argument draws on, and partially integrates, concepts and findings from comparative politics, economic sociology, industrial relations, organization theory, business management, and the political economy of Japan and Russia.
In light of ongoing debates over the significance and impact of "globalization," the eclectic and integrative approach in Managing "Modernity" offers a fresh and provocative contribution that will interest scholars and graduate students across a variety of disciplines and subfields. It offers compelling insights to anyone generally concerned with the social forces that facilitate or hinder the diffusion of ideas and institutions across national boundaries.
Rudra Sil is Janice and Julian Bers Assistant Professor in the Social Sciences, Department of Political Science, University of Pennsylvania.
Until now, archaeological and historical studies of Mesoamerican plazas have been scarce compared to studies of the surrounding monumental architecture such as pyramidal temples and palaces. Many scholars have assumed that ancient Mesoamericans invested their labor, wealth, and symbolic value in pyramids and other prominent buildings, viewing plazas as by-products of these buildings. Even when researchers have recognized the potential significance of plazas, they have thought that plazas as vacant spaces could offer few clues about their cultural and political roles. Mesoamerican Plazas challenges both of these assumptions.
The primary question that has motivated the contributors is how Mesoamerican plazas became arenas for the creation and negotiation of social relations and values in a community. The thirteen contributions stress the significance of interplay between power relations and embodied practices set in specific historical and material settings, as outlined by practice theory and performance theory. This approach allows the contributors to explore broader anthropological issues, such as the negotiation of power relations, community making, and the constitution of political authorities.
Overall, the contributions establish that physical interactions among people in communal events were not the outcomes of political machinations held behind the scenes, but were the actual political processes through which people created, negotiated, and subverted social realities. If so, spacious plazas that were arguably designed for interactions among a large number of individuals must have also provided critical arenas for the constitution and transformation of society.
The question of responsibility plays a critical role not only in our attempts to resolve social and political problems, but in our very conceptions of what those problems are. Who, for example, is to blame for apartheid in South Africa? Is the South African government responsible? What about multinational corporations that do business there? Will uncovering the "true facts of the matter" lead us to the right answer?
In an argument both compelling and provocative, Marion Smiley demonstrates how attributions of blame—far from being based on an objective process of factual discovery—are instead judgments that we ourselves make on the basis of our own political and social points of view. She argues that our conception of responsibility is a singularly modern one that locates the source of blameworthiness in an individual's free will. After exploring the flaws inherent in this conception, she shows how our judgments of blame evolve out of our configuration of social roles, our conception of communal boundaries, and the distribution of power upon which both are based.
The great strength of Smiley's study lies in the way in which it brings together both rigorous philosophical analysis and an appreciation of the dynamics of social and political practice. By developing a pragmatic conception of moral responsibility, this work illustrates both how moral philosophy can enhance our understanding of social and political practices and why reflection on these practices is necessary to the reconstruction of our moral concepts.
Understanding our cultural heritage and sharing a cultural community's history helps motivate individuals to take agency and create change within their communities. But are today's youth appreciative of their culture, or apathetic towards it?
In her vibrant ethnography My Culture, My Color, My Self, Toby Jenkins provides engrossing, in-depth interviews and poignant snapshots of young adults talking about their lives and culture. She recounts D'Leon's dream to become a positive example for African American men, and Francheska describing how her late mother inspired her appreciation of her Boricua heritage. In these and other portraits, Jenkins considers the role that cultural education and engagement plays in enhancing educational systems, neighborhood programs, and community structures.
My Culture, My Color, My Self also features critical essays that focus on broader themes such as family bonds, education, and religion. Taken together, Jenkins shows how people of color use their culture as both a politic of social survival and a tool for social change.
The term deaf often sparks heated debates about authority and authenticity. The concept of Deaf identity and affiliation with the DEAF-WORLD are constantly negotiated social constructions that rely heavily on the use of American Sign Language. However, given the incredible diversity of Deaf people, these constructions vary widely. From Deaf people born into culturally Deaf families and who have used ASL since birth, to those born into hearing families and for whom ASL is a secondary language (if they use it at all), to hearing children of Deaf adults whose first language is ASL, and beyond, the criteria for membership in the Deaf community is based on a variety of factors and perspectives.
Bryan K. Eldredge seeks to more precisely understand the relationship between ASL use and Deaf identity using the tools of linguistic anthropology. In this work, he presents research resulting from fieldwork with the Deaf community of Utah Valley. Through informal interactions and formal interviews, he explores the role of discourse in the projection and construction of Deaf identities and, conversely, considers how ideas about language affect the discourse that shapes identities. He finds that specific linguistic ideologies exist that valorize some forms of language over others and that certain forms of ASL serve to establish a culturally Deaf identity. My Mother Made Me Deaf demonstrates that the DEAF-WORLD consists of a multitude of experiences and ways of being even as it is bound together by certain essential elements that are common to Deaf people.