Those who know me know that I’m anything but lacking in ambivalent feelings with respect to user/survivor research, experiential privilege and self-positioning. (Though it’s probably fair enough to underscore that I’m equally ambivalent about nearly everything I care deeply and passionately about.)
The talk I’ll be giving on Tuesday (Sep. 10th) for the Maudsley Philosophy Group (at the Institute of Psychiatry in London), represents my latest attempt to think through some of the philosophical and theoretical issues involved in demands for greater user/survivor inclusion or leadership–not only in applied social science research, but, perhaps more pressingly, theory. See a draft Powerpoint here.
One issue that the presentation has forced me to reflect on at greater length, is the pronounced difference between “madness” as a sociopolitical minority identity and other, more established, more stable, categories of belonging and difference (race/ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, physical and developmental disabilities; even class). The problem of what it *is* we’re actually talking about when we speak of “madness” or “user/survivors” is thus not only difficult and conceptually/culturally overdetermined, but seems to constitute a kind of true aporia; an impasse, perhaps in the absolute sense. Any argument we might make for user/survivor/mad involvement, that is, simultaneously depends on or assumes a certain coherence, entitativity or, minimally, possibility of identifiable boundaries, and at the same time forces us to concede the structural (and also sociopolitical) impossibility of ever establishing such boundaries (to say nothing of coherence). Where does this leave us….?