Cover image for Theater of disorder : patients, doctors, and the construction of illness
Theater of disorder : patients, doctors, and the construction of illness
Wenegrat, Brant.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Oxford [England] ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2001.
Physical Description:
vi, 292 pages ; 24 cm
Reading Level:
1450 Lexile.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
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R726.5 .W46 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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There are certain phenomena, such as hypnosis, hysteria, multiple personality disorder, recovered memory syndrome, claims of satanic ritual abuse, alien abduction syndrome, and culture-specific disorders that, although common, are difficult to explain completely. The purpose of this volume is to apply a model of social relations to these phenomena in order to provide a different explanation for them. Wenegrat argues that they are socially constructed illness roles or purposive behavior patterns into which patients fall while receiving either unintentionalor intentional cues during interactions with caretakers and authority figures. The application of the social-relations model raises some important, yet previously overlooked, questions about these phenomena. It also illustrates some important aspects of human nature and consciousness, placesillness behaviors in their larger, cultural context, and shows the way to a new and different view of mental life.

Author Notes

Brant Wenegrat is Associate Professor of Psychiatry and behavioral Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine.

Table of Contents

1. The Theater of Disorderp. 3
2. Basic Research and Observationsp. 15
3. Anthropological and Historical Studiesp. 29
4. Playing the Hypnotic Gamep. 57
5. Hysteria and Hysteria-like Disordersp. 81
6. Multiple Personality Disorderp. 137
7. Recovered Memory Rolesp. 173
8. Self-Knowledge, the Unconscious, and the Future of Illness Rolesp. 211
Notesp. 233
Indexp. 273