Accepted Paper:

Inconsistencies and multiple understandings: An analysis of culture-related aspects in DSM-5  


Anna Bredstrom (Linköping University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper examines how culture is conceptualized and linked to psychopathology in DSM-5.

Paper long abstract:

In order to be applicable worldwide and in ethnically heterogeneous populations, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) addresses culture-related aspects of diagnostic criteria and procedures. This paper examines how culture is conceptualised in the manual. Through a content analysis of the manual's main chapter (section II) that lists criteria of all disorders, the paper maps out the different ways culture is linked to psychopathology. The analysis reveals that cultural aspects in DSM-5 rarely tie into current bio-discourses (i.e. neurobiology, genetics or brain scanning), but rather focus on presentation and interpretation of symptoms. However, the way culture is addressed is neither consistent nor systematic. For instance, culture is interchangeably used as both identity and as a system of meaning, and similarly is it unclear if culture changes the symptoms, explains the symptoms or hides the symptoms (or the disease). The paper concludes by discussing the possible effects of such multiple understandings (Mol 2002) of the link between culture and psychopathology.

Panel T096
Emerging biotechnologies in psychiatry and clinical psychology