Is psychiatry dying ? Crisis and critique in contemporary psychiatry.

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Abstract In the wake of the publication of DSM-5, the debate around the validity, usefulness and meaning of psychiatric categories has revived to an extent that is reminiscent of the battles over psychiatry’s legitimacy waged in the 1960s and 1970s. However, what is distinctive about the current crisis of legitimacy are the multiple and varied critical positions that are deployed against a psychiatry that is uncertain about its own central paradigm. In this article, I outline five critical positions that respond to the contemporary crisis in psychiatry and that point towards different directions for the future of psychiatry. Finally, I draw some conclusions about the possibilities of a paradigm shift within psychiatry and the prospects for the survival of a different discipline in the twentyfirst century.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-161
Number of pages20
JournalSocial Theory & Health
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Keywords: psychiatry; critique; DSM-5; neuroscience; crisis; mental illness


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