March 7, 2017

Bipolar Expeditions: Mania and Depression in American by Emily Martin

By Emily Martin

Winner of the 2009 Diana Forsythe Prize, Committee for the Anthropology of technology, know-how, and Computing of the final Anthropology department, and the Society for the Anthropology of labor, American Anthropological Association

Manic habit holds an indisputable fascination in American tradition at the present time. It fuels the plots of best-selling novels and the imagery of MTV video clips, is stated because the driver for winning marketers like Ted Turner, and is widely known because the resource of the creativity of artists like Vincent Van Gogh and film stars like Robin Williams. Bipolar Expeditions seeks to appreciate mania's allure and the way it weighs at the lives of usa citizens clinically determined with manic depression.

Anthropologist Emily Martin publications us into the interesting and infrequently hectic worlds of mental-health aid teams, temper charts, psychiatric rounds, the pharmaceutical undefined, and psychotropic medications. Charting how those worlds intersect with the broader pop culture, she unearths how humans residing lower than the outline of bipolar ailment are usually denied the prestige of being absolutely human, even whereas modern the United States shows a strong affinity for manic habit. Mania, Martin indicates, has turn out to be considered as a far off frontier that invitations exploration since it turns out to supply repute and gains to pioneers, whereas melancholy is imagined as anything that are meant to be eradicated altogether with the aid of drugs.

Bipolar Expeditions argues that mania and melancholy have a cultural lifestyles outdoor the confines of prognosis, that the reports of individuals dwelling with bipolar disease belong totally to the human , and that even the main so-called rational daily practices are intertwined with irrational ones. Martin's personal event with bipolar ailment informs her research and lends a private standpoint to this complicated tale.

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As the novelist Tom Wolfe captures this sentiment in A Man in Full, the mayor of Atlanta discusses the city’s midtown highrise towers and how they demonstrate that Atlanta wasn’t a regional center, but a national one: “He gestured vaguely toward the towers that reached up far above them. ‘They did it! ’”89 Kay Jamison prefers the term “manic-depressive illness” to bipolar disorder because it “seems to capture both the nature and the seri- 28 Introduction To view this image, please refer to the print version of this book Intro.

None of these different groups would agree on a single answer to the question. Apart from my research proper, my daily life had already shown me that no part of manic depression is seen simply as an asset. Ever since I began to write and speak about bipolar disorder, college students have been telling me how often administrators react with dismay and alarm when they hear a student has been diagnosed with manic depression. At Princeton, where I taught for a number of years, students who are diagnosed with manic depression must often take a lengthy leave and then apply for readmission.

While I have just written of “new” problems and domains, I do not pretend that what I will describe in this book is altogether new. It would be more accurate to describe what is happening as a shift of emphasis, a refocusing of the lenses through which we look. Broad notions of self-improvement, cyclic emotion, brain-based mind, and creative insanity have long been abroad in American society. But, as usual, the devil is in the details: my goal is to describe not a completely new set of concepts but rather an intensification of many old concepts that has made it possible for Americans to think about social life and about their psychic lives in new ways.

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