During the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, scientists, clinicians, policy-makers and patients have repeatedly mobilised concepts of balance to explain the functions and malfunctions of bodies and minds and to promote wellbeing. This conference aims to explore the ways in which changing notions of balance have been used to understand the causes of mental illness; to rationalise new approaches to its treatment and prevention; and to validate advice relating to balance in work and family life. Drawing on a range of approaches and methodologies, we very much hope that it will result in an exciting interdisciplinary collection of papers to be submitted for publication in the medical humanities.
In this theme we hope to explore the place of ‘balance’ in competing and coexisting theories of mental illness. Biochemical, social, cultural and psychoanalytical theories all, to some degree, draw on notions of balance to explain psychiatric symptoms and their causes. We hope in this theme to extend our understanding of what has shaped psychiatric, social and cultural notions of balance in mental health.
Professor David Healy (Bangor University)
Dr Darian Leader (Centre for Freudian Analysis and Research)
Dr Matthew Smith (University of Strathclyde)
Professor Jonathan Metzl (Vanderbilt University)