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Citizen minds, citizen bodies: the citizenship experience and the government of mentally ill persons

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Abstract:

Abstract

The concept of citizenship is becoming more and more prominent in specific fields, such as psychiatry/mental health, where it is constituted as a solution to the issues of exclusion, discrimination, and poverty often endured by the mentally ill. We argue that such discourse of citizenship represents a break in the history of psychiatry and constitutes a powerful strategy to counter the effects of equally powerful psychiatric labelling. However, we call into question the emancipatory promise of a citizenship agenda. Foucault's concept of governmentality is helpful in understanding the production of the citizen subject, its location within the ‘art of government’, as well as the ethical and political implications of citizenship in the context of mental health.

Keywords: Foucault; citizen experience; citizenship; governmentality; mental health nursing; psychiatry

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1466-769X.2010.00437.x

Affiliations: 1: Full Professor, Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia 2: Full Professor, School of Nursing, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada, and

Publication date: 2010-04-01

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