Accepted Paper:

Competing imaginations in the care of mental illness: locating the limits of psychiatry in Cuzco, Peru  

Author:

David Orr (University of Sussex)

Paper short abstract:

Paper long abstract:

The disparity between the limited resources available to psychiatric services in the department of Cuzco, Peru, and the sizable population that they are expected to cover, might well be expected to produce a sense of 'crisis.' Yet such urgency is strikingly absent, perhaps because of the extent to which healers outside the official system 'take up the slack.' Why these Andean healers are resorted to with such frequency and persistence can only partly be understood from standard accounts emphasizing lower levels of stigma or the cultural congruence they share with their clientele. I explore some of the differences in approach between these practitioners and those of biomedical psychiatry to suggest why it might be that these alternative forms capture the imagination of so many, and what the obstacles are to a counteracting leap of imagination on the part of local psychiatry that might bridge this gap.

Panel W106
Crisis and resolution: imagination and the transformation of psychiatric care