Women Society and Mental Health
Women, Society and Mental Health—Narratives of Solitude is based on an interdisciplinary matrix of postmodernism, cultural studies, feminism, and psychoanalysis, and attempts to show the complex interweaving of illness and culture in the context of mental illness. In order to explore the society’s attitude towards mentally ill women, the study undertakes an analysis of narratives collected from the field and also of the representation of mental illness in popular cultural texts. This book has tried to find out the parallels between gender discrimination and discrimination against the mentally ill and also has tried to highlight the nature and magnitude of gender-discrimination faced by women. This book has explored the neighbours, family members, and medical health practitioner’s attitude towards mentally ill women of Assam along with the socio-cultural and socio-economic factors in shaping such attitudes. This book is informed by theoretical perspectives of psychoanalysis of Sudhir Kakar and Michel Foucault (madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason). The methodology specially draws on feminist theory, which interprets mental illness as a product of women’s social and political operation in a patriarchal society. The book is pertinent and contemporary study on Mental Health, Culture and Women in North East India. This book is unique by analysing the problems of ‘mentally ill women’ and their emotional narratives voicing their inner world of pain and misery. This book will be useful for social science researchers and offers an alternative outlook on women and mental health.
Mousumi Mahanta (b. 1979) is working as Assistant Professor at the Chandraprabha Saikiani Centre for Women’s Studies, Tezpur University, Tezpur, Assam. Her areas of specialisation include Gender and Mental Health, Women’s Studies, Sociology of Health, Mental Illness, Anthropology and Cultural Studies. She has conducted research and published widely on these issues in Academic Journals.
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