GTR Archives 2000-2020

 

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Mad Travelers: Reflections on the Reality of Transient Mental Illnesses

(Harvard University Press, 2002)

By Ian Hacking

Rev. by Roberto Pedreira

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.

 References

Krippner, S. (1987). Cross-Cultural Approaches to Multiple Personality Disorder: Practices in Brazilian Spiritism. Ethos, 15(3), 273-295.  

Paris, J. (2012). The Rise and Fall of Dissociative Identity Disorder. The Journal of nervous and mental disease, 200(12), 1076-1079.

Piper, 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), 592-600.

 

 

(C) 2019, Roberto Pedreira. All rights reserved. 

Revised February 19, 2020.

 

 

 

 

 

GTR Archives 2000-2020