Mental Health in the War on Terror: Culture, Science, and Statecraft

Hardcover | January 13, 2015

byNeil Krishan Aggarwal

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Neil Krishan Aggarwal's timely study finds that mental-health and biomedical professionals have created new forms of knowledge and practice in their desire to understand and fight terrorism. In the process, the state has used psychiatrists and psychologists to furnish knowledge on undesirable populations, and psychiatrists and psychologists have protected state interests.

Professional interpretation, like all interpretations, is subject to cultural forces. Drawing on cultural psychiatry and medical anthropology, Aggarwal analyzes the transformation of definitions for normal and abnormal behavior in a vast array of sources: government documents, professional bioethical debates, legal motions and opinions, psychiatric and psychological scholarship, media publications, and policy briefs. Critical themes emerge on the use of mental health in awarding or denying disability to returning veterans, characterizing the confinement of Guantánamo detainees, contextualizing the actions of suicide bombers, portraying Muslim and Arab populations in psychiatric and psychological scholarship, illustrating bioethical issues in the treatment of detainees, and supplying the knowledge and practice to deradicalize terrorists. Throughout, Aggarwal explores this fascinating, troublesome transformation of mental-health science into a potential instrument of counterterrorism.

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From the Publisher

Neil Krishan Aggarwal's timely study finds that mental-health and biomedical professionals have created new forms of knowledge and practice in their desire to understand and fight terrorism. In the process, the state has used psychiatrists and psychologists to furnish knowledge on undesirable populations, and psychiatrists and psychol...

Neil Krishan Aggarwal is an assistant professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University and a research psychiatrist at the New York State Psychiatric Institute. His areas of research interest are cultural psychiatry, cultural-competence training, and psychiatric anthropology. He is especially interested in conceptions of mental ...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:232 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.98 inPublished:January 13, 2015Publisher:Columbia University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0231166648

ISBN - 13:9780231166645

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Table of Contents

PrefaceAcknowledgments1. Mental Health, Culture, and Power in the War on Terror2. Bioethics and the Conduct of Mental Health Professionals in the War on Terror3. The Meanings of Symptoms and Services for Guantánamo Detainees4. Depictions of Arabs and Muslims in Psychodynamic Scholarship5. Depictions of Suicide Bombers in the Mental Health Scholarship6. Knowledge and Practice in War on Terror Deradicalization ProgramsEpilogueNotesReferencesIndex

Editorial Reviews

Should be required reading for psychiatrists and mental health professionals interested in the psychology of Islamist terrorism... It is an exemplar of the manner in which the lens of transcultural psychiatry can clarify our perspective...