Tactical authenticity in the production of autoethnographic mad narratives

Clarke, S.P. ORCID: 0000-0002-6708-0194 and Wright, C., 2020. Tactical authenticity in the production of autoethnographic mad narratives. Social Theory and Health, 18 (2), pp. 169-183. ISSN 1477-8211

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First-person accounts of madness and of encountering psychiatric services provide important sociocultural and psychological knowledge about the subjectivity of distress. The importance of such accounts isoften based upon a claim of the authenticity of personal experience. However, authenticity is a highly heterogeneous concept: a popular current manifestation of the discourse of authenticity is in positive psychology, where it is often underpinned by humanist assumptions such as the rational autonomous self. The post-structuralist critique of humanism challenged such essentialist notions some time agoand has been adopted explicitly by research methodologies such as autoethnography. The purpose of this article is to argue that this tension - between the value of methods such as autotechnography that offer a legitimate source of knowledge regarding the subjective experience of madness on the one hand, and the problems with an essentialist conception of the 'authentic' self on the other - can be addressed by the deployment of a reconceptualised form of authenticity based on Gayatri Spivak's (1988) notion of 'strategic essentialism',especially when modified by Michel De Certeau's (1984) distinction between 'tactics' and 'strategies'. The implications of this distinction in terms of developing autoethnographies of distress is then discussed.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Social Theory and Health
Creators: Clarke, S.P. and Wright, C.
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
Date: 2020
Volume: 18
Number: 2
ISSN: 1477-8211
Divisions: Schools > School of Social Sciences
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 19 Oct 2018 12:54
Last Modified: 26 Aug 2022 07:52
URI: https://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/34704

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