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Crazy radio: the domestication of mental illness over the airwaves

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May community radio be a therapy for patients who suffer from mental diseases? Can radio be a useful tool both for recovering the selves of the patients and for the normal people outside the hospitals, helping to communicate less stereotyped images of the mental illness? This article will try to answer these questions, analysing two different case histories, the ones of Radio la Colifata of Buenos Aires the first radio station to be totally conducted by patients and of Radio Rete 180 of Mantova, Italy, the last born of this genre. The article is the result of ethnographic research conducted in Buenos Aires and in Mantova through the methods of participant observation of the live radio sessions and in-depth interviews with the patients. The experience I had studying these crazy radio stations led me to the belief that community radio practice further enhances the feeling of being at home with ourselves and with others and can effectively work as a tool of social connection and participation, not only in the case of mentally ill patients as it will be shown here, but also in other cases of Otherness (i.e. asylum seekers, migrants, prison inmates, etc.).
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Keywords: community radio; de-institutionalization; mental illness; recovery of the self; social connection

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: IULM University, Milan.

Publication date: 01 November 2005

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  • The Radio Journal is committed to high-quality, diverse research in the arena of radio and sound media, from broadcast to podcast and all in between. We look for articles that explore the production, circulation and reception of radio and creative soundwork, addressing historical and contemporary issues in sound-based journalism and media studies from a wide range of national and transnational perspectives.
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