Editorial Introduction: The Politics Of Psychological Suffering

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Feminism And Psychology


This special issue, “The politics of psychological suffering,” draws attention to the contested bases of knowledge in the “psy” professions (psychiatry, psychology, psychotherapy and related disciplines) (Foucault, 1977; Rose, 1999). We aim to explore the political contexts and production of people’s psychological distress. We take “psychological suffering” as the starting point for analysis, as a means of dislodging prefigured notions of individualized “mental illness” or “psychopathology.” This, we hope, serves as a feminist counterpoint to mainstream understandings of psychological suffering as biomedical illness. Exploring a range of experiences (from women’s sexuality to eating difficulties to responses to traumatic events), the articles in this issue disrupt and re-envision the taken-for-granted ways in which the psy professions typically frame and engage with people’s pain.


psychological suffering, knowledge practices, DSM diagnoses, critical feminisms, trauma discourses

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