Schizophrenia, at one time considered by many clinicians to be a psychological response to an oppressive upbringing, is now generally accepted as a physical illness. While Keith Doubt does not quarrel with this current view, he does challenge the positivist assumptions that tend to accompany it. Throughout this fascinating survey of the literature on schizophrenia, Doubt presents a critique of society's neglect of the mentally ill and promotes a humanistic understanding of the affected person as a social being.
Doubt draws on several disciplines and uses the works of such diverse writers as Vygotsky, Piaget, Deleuze, Laing, and Torrey. While he rebukes medical practitioners for ignoring the social dimensions of schizophrenia, he is equally critical of post-modernism's tendency to valorize the mentally ill. Nor does he sympathize with particular sociological approaches which, he believes, emphasize society's reactions to the illness - often at the expense of the afflicted person. Thus, a major part of Doubt's project is to place the individual at the centre of sociological theorizing about schizophrenia.
This thought-provoking study offers an alternative perspective on schizophrenia to scholars and professionals, as well as to those who live with the disease. Doubt offers practical recommendations, which he hopes will bring some relief to sufferers, and helpful insights to those engaged in treating or assisting people with schizophrenia.