Download A Disability of the Soul: An Ethnography of Schizophrenia by Karen Nakamura PDF

By Karen Nakamura

Bethel residence, situated in a small fishing village in northern Japan, was once based in 1984 as an intentional group for individuals with schizophrenia and different psychiatric problems. utilizing a different, neighborhood method of psychosocial restoration, Bethel apartment focuses as a lot on social integration as on healing paintings. As a centerpiece of this method, Bethel condominium begun its personal companies as a way to create employment and socialization possibilities for its citizens and to alter public attitudes towards the mentally unwell, but in addition fairly by chance supplied an important strengthen to the distressed neighborhood economic system. via its paintings courses, communal residing, and shut courting among sanatorium and city, Bethel has been remarkably winning in rigorously reintegrating its contributors into eastern society. It has turn into often called a version replacement to long term institutionalization.

In A incapacity of the Soul, Karen Nakamura explores how the contributors of this targeted neighborhood fight with their lives, their health problems, and the that means of group. informed via attractive ancient narrative, insightful ethnographic vignettes, and compelling lifestyles tales, her account of Bethel residence depicts its achievements and setbacks, its can provide and barriers.

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Additional resources for A Disability of the Soul: An Ethnography of Schizophrenia and Mental Illness in Contemporary Japan

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This is a common theme in antipsychiatry literature, which ignores the reality that such people were just as likely to be abandoned or killed by their families or by intolerant others. This romanticization of the past also elides very real features of mental illness. Depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorders can all be very physically and psychically painful and can also lead to significant selfharming behavior. No discussion of mental illness in a cross-cultural or transhistorical context can be made without stating that being mentally ill can lead to considerable suffering if not properly treated.

Kiyoshi has the uncanny ability to help people in times of crisis, knowing just what to say at the appropriate moment. But that insight and kindness comes from many years of struggling with his own demons. When I asked Kiyoshi-san to tell me his story for Bethel, he heaved a long sigh and told me that he had told this story so many times before— no doubt to every researcher, psychotourist, and film crew that had passed through Urakawa as well as during the many talks he’s given for Bethel across Japan.

In the West, we have the notion of self-narration as catharsis, as a freeing of pent-up emotions. We feel a compulsion to tell the stories of our lives to our therapists, to our priests, to our neighbors, to strangers on the bus. 4 Kiyoshi Hayasaka at a Bethel cookout, July 6, 2007. Photo by the author. In a way, self-narration is self-discovery—we find out who we are by telling the story of who we are. But when is this not true? I was surprised when I found out that Bethel does not encourage much delving in the past.

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