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Andrew Lakoff argues that a new 'pharmaceutical' way of thinking about and acting upon mental disorder is coming to reshape not only the field of psychiatry, but also our very notions of self. Drawing from a comprehensive ethnography of psychiatric practice in Argentina (a country which boasts the most psychoanalysts per capita in the world) Lakoff looks at new ways of understanding and intervening in human behaviour. He charts the globalization of pharmacology, particularily the global impact of US psychiatry and US models of illness, and further illustrates the clashes, conflicts, alliances and reformulations that take place when psychoanalytic and psychopharmacological models of illness and cure meet. Highlighting the social and political implications that these new forms of expertise about human behaviour and human thought bring, Lakoff presents an arresting case-study that will appeal to scholars and students alike.


'…a substantial contribution to the sociology of psychiatry. It is as essential as those by Estroff, Barrett and Karp. I can only hope it will be read not only by sociologists or anthropologists, but also by students on their way to becoming psychiatrists.'

Source: Journal of BioSocieties

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