• Madness and narrative understanding: A comparison of two female firsthand narratives of madness in the pre and post enlightenment periods.

      Burkitt, Ian; Thomas, Phil; Torn, Alison (University of BradfordSchool of Health Studies, 2009-08-24)
      This study uses a narrative analytic approach to explore the similarities and differences between pre-Enlightenment and post-Enlightenment firsthand accounts of madness in order to answer the question; what is the relationship between madness, narrative, understanding, identity and recovery? Drawing on the work of Foucault, the research traces the historical and cultural development of conceptualisations of reason and unreason, the rise of psychiatry and the marginalisation of the voice of madness. I argue that this marginalisation is continued in narrative research where the focus is on the stories of the physically ill, rather than madness. The narrative method provides a means of giving space to these marginalised voices and it is Bakhtin¿s constructs of dialogicism, polyphony, unfinalizability and the chronotope that provide the tools for the narrative analysis of two female English writers; Margery Kempe and Mary Barnes. The analysis highlights three critical issues in relation to firsthand narratives of madness. First, the blurred boundaries between madness and mysticism and the role of metaphor in understanding distressing experiences. Second, the complex, multi-dimensional nature of subjective timespace that challenges the linear assumptions underlying both narrative and recovery, which, I argue, demands a radical reconceptualisation of both constructs. Third, the liminal social positioning within the analysed accounts is closely related to Bakhtin¿s notion of unfinalizability, a form of being that enables the search for meaning and the transformation of the self. Insights can be gained from this research that may place stories and understanding central in contemporary healthcare.
    • Narratives of Troubled Journeys: Personality disorder and the medicalisation of moral dilemmas

      Burkitt, Ian; Sullivan, Paul W.; Walker, Tammi; Middleton, Raymond P.
      This thesis examines the interaction of the medical and moral in the historical evolution of “personality disorder” starting with the relationship between Prichard’s (1835) diagnosis of “Moral Insanity” and an anti-modern religious text (Hancock, 1824) describing disorder of the moral faculty. Moral insanity is traced through to Psychopathic Personalities and the military’s Medical 203 to Personality Disorder in DSM I (1952) through to DSM 5 (2013). The extent to which DSM medicalises everyday moral categories is examined by building on the works of writers theorising moral orders and moral selves, such as Harré (1993), Bakhtin (1981, 1984, 1986) and Taylor (1989). This thesis moves from macro-level concerns to the micro-level using dialogical narrative methodology (Sullivan, 2012) alongside Bakhtin’s conceptual tools to examine how medical and personal narratives of "Personality Disorder" interact in lived experience by analysing a triangulation of my psychiatric clinical notes, contemporary diary entries and an autobiographical account. An analysis is undertaken of several diverse autobiographical accounts of ‘successful’ recovery from mental health crisis already available in the public sphere. Consideration was given to how concepts developed throughout this study might be used in future work, concepts such as “dialogical search for a new narrative”, the dialogical ethics of “habitual excess and insufficiency” and “authoritative narrators”. This thesis’s originality is in linking DSM 5’s diagnosis of personality disorder to anti-modern moral discourses on disorder of the moral faculty, and in revealing complex genre relationships between literal/medical and literary/moral understandings of emotional and mental crisis and recovery.