What makes Hari run? The social construction of madness in a highland Papua New Guinea society

Michael Goddard*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The substance of this article is a narrative about a man considered mad in a highland Papua New Guinea society, and about his interaction with his community and with an anthropologist who tried unsuccessfully to change the community's negative attitude towards him. It is argued that his madness was socially constructed, and cannot be adequately explained using a psychiatric paradigm, even if the psychiatric approach were modified to accommodate cultural difference or notions of culture-bound syndromes. It is further argued that the social construction, a dialectic of group and individual praxis, can be analytically contextualized in a moral imperative grounded in the community's kin-ordered mode of production, and can be interpreted as a communal exercise in moral iconography.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-81
Number of pages21
JournalCritique of Anthropology
Volume18
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1998
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Communalism
  • Madness
  • Morality
  • Praxis
  • Psychiatry

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