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Configuring Madness: Representation, Context & Meaning

Configuring Madness: Representation, Context & Meaning

The 1st Global Conference on Madness hosted in Oxford, September 2008 brought together an eclectic group of people interested in establishing interdisciplinary dialogues on the profoundly complex and deeply cultural notion of ‘madness’ and what it means to be ‘mad.’ The confluence of ideas, experiences and the collapsing of intellectual boundaries around philosophy, history, the arts, science, activism politics, religion and law, opened a unique discursive space in which to contemplate and debate past and present representations of, and responses to, madness and the mad. The formative implications of such different perspectives – as framed by time, place/space, culture, experience, identity, discipline and profession – proved to be significant in understanding how certain configurations of madness have been put together; what kinds of knowledge and conditions of knowledge in/formed particular ideologies of madness and how specific processes of decision-making and judgement were defined and legitimized within particular contexts. The chapters included in Configuring Madness have been selected and developed in order to provide just a sampling of conversations, perspectives and discursive intersections that emerged during the threeday conference.

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