We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to browse this repository, you give consent for essential cookies to be used. You can read more about our Privacy and Cookie Policy.

Durham Research Online
You are in:

Psychiatric 'survivors' and testimonies of self-harm.

Cresswell, M. (2005) 'Psychiatric 'survivors' and testimonies of self-harm.', Social science & medicine., 61 (8). pp. 1668-1677.


UK “Psychiatric Survivors”—a variety of activist groups comprising individuals who have been on the “receiving end” of psychiatric treatment—have, since the mid-1980s, mounted a challenge to the psychiatric system. “Survivors” have formulated their own knowledge-base concerning a range of human problems hitherto regarded as the province of “official” psychiatry only. “Official” knowledge stresses scientific classification, professional expertise, and statistical evidence: “Survivor” knowledge, by contrast, emphasises individual experience, the traumas of the life-course, and the personal testimony of the survivor as itself expert data. This paper focuses upon the truth-claims enacted by the “testimony of the survivor” and the relation of “testimony” to political practice. Specifically, I analyse a key text containing the testimonies of female survivors whose behaviour has been officially labelled as “deliberate self-harm”; that is, women who harm themselves, through self-poisoning or self-laceration, and subsequently receive medical/psychiatric treatment. The main focus is upon the political functions of testimony in theory and practice—the ways in which “survivors” challenge the power of psychiatry.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Psychiatry, Mental health, Survivors, Self-harm, Testimony, United Kingdom.
Full text:Full text not available from this repository.
Publisher Web site:
Record Created:18 Jan 2008
Last Modified:19 Mar 2010 16:37

Social bookmarking: del.icio.usConnoteaBibSonomyCiteULikeFacebookTwitterExport: EndNote, Zotero | BibTex
Look up in GoogleScholar | Find in a UK Library