Discursive of Tunbridge Wells

What we’ve been reading: More DSM, women leaders after Maggie and gun control.


What we’ve been reading: More DSM, women leaders after Maggie and gun control.

The first of an occasional series where we ask departmental staff to give a shout out on what they’ve been reading recently.

Does your child sing, laugh, run around and imagine things? Perhaps she has ‘Youthful Tendency Disorder’. We hadn’t come across this before, but the knowledgeable folks at The Onion enlightened us. It might come as shock to realise that the piece linked above was written in the year 2000, affirming the truism that satire gets overtaken by reality. In this case reality is the vast expansion of psychiatric labelling that is likely to result from the new DSM. With the DSM’s forthcoming publication, coverage of diagnostic labels seems especially relevant and we also had a recommendation for this blog by Philip Thomas. It details his complaints to the BBC about their coverage of neuroscience and mental health.

Thinking about different responses to distress we’ve also been looking at the new psychology textbook by Cromby, Harper and Reavy. It aims to be the first undergrad text that ‘reconsiders the traditional emphasis on the biological and psychiatric models’ of mental health. Psychology lecturers please take note.

In the week in which we lost Mrs T much of the discussion of course has been about what Maggie did, and didn’t, mean for women. Our own Jan Burns reckons:

‘The glass ceiling may not be completely broken, but is at least visible and somewhat shattered. What we should be more worried about is the “glass cliff”. Michelle Ryan and Alex Haslam’s ground-breaking work at the University of Exeter has shown how women and other minority groups find themselves in leadership positions. Interestingly though these are more commonly those with attached potential risk and criticism. This goes some way to explain those apocryphal tales of “ah, look what happens when a [fill in your particular minority] is in charge”.’

While we’re on conservative values, we also had a ringing endorsement of ‘Why be happy when you could be normal?’  by Jeannette Winterson.  ‘Thought provoking and inspirational, addressing issues of nature and nurture, overcoming adversity, creativity. A unique perspective on mental distress.’ is the judgement of Celia Heneage.

For those of you following some of our thoughts on suicide it’s worth drawing attention to the thoughts of the practical ethicists at Oxford talking about current legal cases on assisted suicide. As you may know we also keep an eye on developments in gun legislation in the US. A difficult week for proponents of greater gun control but we hope, if John Cassidy in the New Yorker is to be believed, that it’s not the end of the line.

By The Editors
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