Out of Place: Madness in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea | BERGHAHN BOOKS
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Out of Place: Madness in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea

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Volume 6

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Out of Place

Madness in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea

Michael Goddard

200 pages, 1 map, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-0-85745-094-4 $135.00/£99.00 / Hb / Published (April 2011)

eISBN 978-0-85745-095-1 eBook


View CartYour country: - edit Buy the eBook from these vendorsRequest a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format)Recommend to your LibraryAvailable in GOBI®


Goddard has provided a much-needed addition to the ethnography of the Papua New Guinea Highlands… With the ethnographic accounts presented he has provided a rich and rewarding book. · Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology

Goddard's book is of great value to those interested in the history and critical understanding of psychiatry and psychology, to Melanesian anthropologists, and to those with an interest in ethnopsychiatry more generally…This is a critical area of research, particularly given that primary health care in the country lacks capacity and the tertiary system is struggling…[This book] also clearly demonstrates the value of the analysis of behaviour that is viewed as outside of normal moral conduct in understanding cultural assumptions and patterns of social relationships.  ·  Anthropos

The chief value of Out of Place…resides in its ethnographic contribution: a compelling witnessing from the field that powerfully challenges conventional thinking underlying a global discipline of mental health.  ·  Pacific Affairs

[This book ] is a rich ethnographic account about the social nature of madness. In so doing, it contributes to the debate on mental illness in Melanesian anthropology. Moreover, while the stories of the four kekelepa men represent an effective example of ethnographic work and reflexive analysis, the book is also a valuable starting point for the study of the history and social issues of PNG.  ·  Durham Anthropology Journal

The book is a strong reminder against tendencies to fix local systems of thought into rigid nosologies of static local knowledge.”  ·  Tijdschrift Medische Anthropologie

"This text is an example of some of the best, considered and reflexive work in contemporary anthropology. [It] is informative, demonstrates integrity and is consistently interesting ... I recommend the book as a model introduction to the issues that fieldwork in Papua New Guinea raises, and the potential for anthropological work there to continue to offer a vital contribution to the discipline."  ·  James Leach, University of Aberdeen

"This is an important and long overdue work. The author is an excellent ethnographer and anthropologist whose intellectual maturity and scholarly integrity are of the highest order . . . Finely grained monograph-length ethnographic studies of the experience and societal accommodations of madness in non-Western cultural lifeworlds are rare. With respect to New Guinea, they are virtually nonexistent."  ·  Jadran Mimica, University of Sydney


The Kakoli of the Western Highlands of Papua New Guinea (PNG), the focus of this study, did not traditionally have a concept of mental illness. They classified madness according to social behaviour, not mental pathology. Moreover, their conception of the person did not recognise the same physical and mental categories that inform Western medical science, and psychiatry in particular was not officially introduced to PNG until the late 1950s. Its practitioners claimed that it could adequately accommodate the cultural variation among Melanesian societies. This book compares the intent and practice of transcultural psychiatry with Kakoli interpretations of, and responses to, madness, showing the reasons for their occasional recourse to psychiatric services. Episodes involving madness, as defined by the Kakoli themselves, are described in order to offer a context for the historical lifeworld and praxis of the community and raise fundamental questions about whether a culturally sensitive psychiatry is possible in the Melanesian context.

Michael Goddard is currently a Research Fellow in the Department of Anthropology, Macquarie University, Australia. He is the author of The Unseen City (2005) and Substantial Justice (2009).

Subject: Medical Anthropology
Area: Asia-Pacific


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