Some of the most innovative and provocative work on the emotions and illness is occurring in cross-cultural research on depression. Culture and Depression presents the work of anthropologists, psychiatrists, and psychologists who examine the controversies, agreements, and conceptual and methodological problems that arise in the course of such research. A book of enormous depth and breadth of discussion, Culture and Depression enriches the cross-cultural study of emotions and mental illness and leads it in new directions. It commences with a historical study followed by a series of anthropological accounts that examine the problems that arise when depression is assessed in other cultures. This is a work of impressive scholarship which demonstrates that anthropological approaches to affect and illness raise central questions for psychiatry and psychology, and that cross-cultural studies of depression raise equally provocative questions for anthropology.
Arthur Kleinman is a prominent American psychiatrist and is the Esther and Sidney Rabb Professor of medical anthropology and cross-cultural psychiatry at Harvard University. Byron J. Good is Professor of Medical Anthropology in the Department of Social Medicine at Harvard University.
"This is the most complete, scholarly and provocative collection of reviews that attempt to separate what is the universal biological 'core' from what represents cultural contributions in depressive illness. Researchers will find a great deal that would challenge conventional ways of conceptualizing this illness and clinicians will find a wealth of intriguing clinical and historical detail to enrich their perspective. Culture and Depression is a must reading for everyone interested in mood disorders."--Hagop Akiskal, University of Tennessee "Presents extraordinary data and analyses on the formation and expression of sadness and depression. It does so brilliantly, illustrating the complexity of the challenge and the variety of conceptual and methodological issues that must be addressed. Readers will find their understanding of this topic, and the research challenges that life ahead, greatly enriched."--David Mechanic, Rutgers University "A milestone in its synthesis of ideas and evidence, and in its sustained effort to push anthropological perspectives about the nature of depression to their limit. Perhaps most important, the detail with which it uncovers shortcomings in existing studies presents a major challenge which no future cross-cultural psychiatric research can afford to ignore."--George W. Brown, Royal Holloway and Bedford New College, University of London