Exotic Deviance

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Exotic Deviance: Medicalizing Cultural Idioms--From Strangeness to IllnessBartholomew, Robert E. (December 2000).

Exotic Deviance: Medicalizing Cultural Idioms--From Strangeness to Illness (University Press of Colorado).

Forward by Professor Peter Conrad, Chair, Sociology Department, Brandeis University.  This study contributes to the literature on the inappropriate placement of medical labels onto deviant behaviors.  It contains a reappraisal of the contemporary mainstream psychiatric status of the culture-specific "mental disorders" of koro and latah in parts of Asia, and the history-specific appearance of St. Vitus Dance in medieval Europe.  Using historical case studies of the literature under scrutiny, and in the case of latah, ethnographic observation, I demonstrate that pathological assessments of these three seemingly bizarre psychological disturbances are not supported by consistent biological or clinical findings of abnormality, but are socially designated deviance categories constructed within the Western social and cultural tradition, by objectivist researchers seeking universalist causes of deviation, with norms, values and worldviews that differ significantly from the participants

 

Reviews of Exotic Deviance:

“Bartholomew demonstrates deep scholarship in the reviews of cross-cultural behavioral conditions ... and is clear, forceful and effective.”  
    --Professor Arthur Kleinman, Chair, Department of Social Medicine, Harvard University

“Robert Bartholomew makes a unique and important contribution.  Basing his research on first-hand experience and an impressive command of the literature, Bartholomew extends the medicalization of deviance to nonWestern societies.”
    --Professor Peter Conrad, Chair, Department of Sociology, Brandeis University

"Exotic Deviance combines immeasurably meticulous scholarship with rich personal experience....
    ....I anticipate [this book] will come to occupy a singular place in the field of social studies of deviance and medicine. Exotic Deviance will appeal to a wide readership, including scholars concerned with the sociology of deviance, medical anthropologists, Southeast Asian specialists, and transcultural psychiatrists (even those of traditional persuasion, who will be irritated at first, but ultimately convinced).
--Dr. Robert J. Barrett, Department of Anthropology, University of Adelaide, writing in Oceania.