Rain Forest Asylum

The enduring legacy of colonial psychiatric care in Malaysia

Sara Ashencaen Crabtree

rain forest asylum cover

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ISBN: 978-1-861771-28-5
Series: Critical Studies in Socio-Cultural Diversity
Categories: Cultural Studies, Health Services, Human Services, Social Policy
Published: October 2012
234 x 156 x 14 mm
260 pages
Publisher: Whiting & Birch Ltd
Malaysian psychiatric services and policy show some similar developments to those of the West. Yet much of the rhetoric that has informed these changes internationally have yet to be fully embraced in a modern, industrialised nation seeking to develop services congruent with the complex and rich diversity of ethnicity, culture and geography in the region.

The relevance of this unique and extensive ethnographic study is that it captures the fascinating and otherwise lost voices of Malaysian service users, in a cultural context where a scientific, positivistic discourse prevails.

However, its aims are more far reaching in that while providing an account that straddles the fault lines of both medical sociology and medical anthropology, it also critically engages with intriguing historiographic accounts of imperial and colonial psychiatry. These serve to illuminate the ideologies and practices underpinning the colonial psychiatric mission across the nineteenth century in Asia and Africa, and which today hold identifiable influences, both for good and ill, in contemporary psychiatric services in post-colonial nations, such as Malaysia. As such this book will appeal not only to social scientists but also to mental health professions working with a culturally diverse client base.
Sara Ashencaen Crabtree is Deputy Director, Centre of Social Work and Social Policy, and Head of Sociology & Social Policy, School of Health and Social Care, Bournemouth University. She is the author of Islam and Social Work: Debating values, transforming practice (Policy Press, 2008) ... read more
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