Visualizing madness: mental illness and public representation

Cross, Simon (2004) Visualizing madness: mental illness and public representation. Television & New Media, 5 (3). pp. 197-216. ISSN 1552-8316

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Full text URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1527476403254001

Abstract

This article explores continuities between traditional iconographies of madness and images of mental illness mobilized by contemporary television program makers. In particular, it investigates how contrasting forms of British TV documentary visualize "dangerous" mental patients abroad in the community. In constructing the argument, particular attention is given to the role of documentary television in making visible the lives of schizophrenics vis-à-vis changing notions of psychiatric care in the community. By doing so, the article adopts an approach to public representations of madness/mental illness that takes account of documentary television as a cultural form with social responsibility. The article concludes by emphasizing television’s cultural importance as a visual medium capable of promoting or undermining mentally ill people’s symbolic presence within a community of citizens

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:This article explores continuities between traditional iconographies of madness and images of mental illness mobilized by contemporary television program makers. In particular, it investigates how contrasting forms of British TV documentary visualize "dangerous" mental patients abroad in the community. In constructing the argument, particular attention is given to the role of documentary television in making visible the lives of schizophrenics vis-à-vis changing notions of psychiatric care in the community. By doing so, the article adopts an approach to public representations of madness/mental illness that takes account of documentary television as a cultural form with social responsibility. The article concludes by emphasizing television’s cultural importance as a visual medium capable of promoting or undermining mentally ill people’s symbolic presence within a community of citizens
Keywords:Television documentary, Madness, Mental illness, Care in the community, Public representation, Visual image
Subjects:P Mass Communications and Documentation > P500 Journalism
Divisions:College of Arts > Lincoln School of Media
ID Code:627
Deposited By: Bev Jones
Deposited On:22 Jun 2007
Last Modified:28 Nov 2014 11:00

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