Accepted paper:

The reformulation of DSM IV in a Turkish context


Guler Cansu Agoren (University of Exeter)

Paper short abstract:

This paper analyses how the interplay between Islamic thinking, the self-perception of the individuals and the global understanding of depression forms Turkish conceptualisation of depression.

Paper long abstract:

This paper intends to analyse the conceptualisation of depression in the cultural context of Turkey. The global understanding of depression, based on the DSM IV, has a major influence on the formulation of the concept of depression in Turkey, although it remains unclear whether the interpretation of DSM IV has been smooth and unproblematic or not. Here, it is proposed that there are two possible factors which might have interfered with this interpretation: individuals' self-perception in Turkish society, which is considerably different from self-perception in the Western world; and the Islamic understanding of suicide and depression. The former is important firstly because depression is often defined in relation to the concept of self, and secondly, human understanding of their selves often influences their experience of depression. Islamic understanding is also significant, as DSM IV is the product of a Western medical tradition. However, Turkish medical history is based on a different tradition, which was influenced by Islamic thinking. The understanding of Turkish interpretation of depression thus requires a broader analysis going beyond the DSM IV. For this reason, the concept of self will be defined in the cultural context of Turkey. Additionally, the Islamic understanding of suicide and depression will be described. Finally, the work of two Turkish investigators will be used to exemplify how the DSM IV treatment of depression has been adapted for a specifically Turkish social/cultural/religious context.

panel P101
Collaboration between psychiatry and anthropology: nosological and etiological challenges