Travelers: Reflections on the Reality of Transient Mental Illnesses
By Ian Hacking
Ian Hacking describes fugue, which
was a late 19th century psychiatric diagnosis, briefly popular in France,
characterized by a compulsion to travel combined with a loss of memory
concerning the travels. Prof. Hacking suggests why fugue was a popular diagnosis,
specifically in France and areas influenced by French medical theorizing
at that time and why it never really caught on in the Anglo-American
sphere. He suggests that the recent fascination with Dissociative Identity
Disorder (aka DID, formerly Multiple Personality Disorder, aka MPD) and other fashionable
mental maladies may be rooted in the same constellation of social factors,
i.e., have an equally tenuous "reality". He notes, as others
have, that MPD became popular at just about the same time that
"demonic" or "spirit" possession" fell out of
fashion. It can be noted (Prof. Hacking does not) that in some cultures
MPD and spirit possession are scarcely distinct at all (see Krippner 1987,
and Piper & Merskey 2004 below for some observations to that effect;
and also that the "disorder" appears to be highly media driven
as well as iatrogenic; see Paris 2012 for comments).
An earlier version of this review
was published on amazon.co.jp.
Krippner, S. (1987). Cross-Cultural Approaches to Multiple Personality
Disorder: Practices in Brazilian Spiritism. Ethos, 15(3),
Paris, J. (2012).
The Rise and Fall of Dissociative Identity Disorder. The Journal of
nervous and mental disease, 200(12), 1076-1079.
A., & Merskey, H. (2004). The Persistence of Folly: A Critical
Examination of Dissociative Identity Disorder. Part I. The Excesses of an
Improbable Concept. The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 49(9),
2019, Roberto Pedreira. All rights
February 19, 2020.