Depression and Western Cultural Hegemony

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From The Guardian Letters: “As a teacher of psychiatry to medical students in Zimbabwe, I find Tina Rosenberg’s account of the work of Vikram Patel overly glossy (The long read: Busting the myth that depression doesn’t affect poor countries, 30 April). At issue is the globalisation of western psychiatry, for which Patel is a prominent salesman.

In claiming that a local idiom of distress – ‘thinking too much’ – is really depression, he is asserting the universalist supremacy of western frameworks and categories. This is indeed cultural hegemony, brushing aside non-western mentalities and understandings of distress. Moreover, a poverty-haunted Zimbabwe has enough problems of its own without the importation and promotion of ‘depression’, with its assumptions of mental pathology.”

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1 COMMENT

  1. The entire psychiatric DSM “bible” was debunked as “invalid” and “unreliable” by the head of the US National Institute of Mental Health in 2013. So what does psychiatry do? Flush their “bible,” as would be appropriate? No, they try pushing their BS theology and snake oil neurotoxins onto the rest of the world. Someone’s got to reel in the DSM deluded, they’ve lost their minds with their unchecked and undeserved power.