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Florin Cristea

Voices from the Tea Fields
Diagnostic Uncertainty and Moral Agency in a Psychiatric Hospital in Northestern Tanzania

Berliner Beiträge zur Ethnologie, Bd. 48
Broschur, 14,8 x 21,0 cm, 156 Seiten, 24,90 €
ISBN 978-3-89998-353-1

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Über das Buch
This book explores the life-worlds and clinical experiences of people diagnosed with a severe psychiatric disorder inside the Lutindi Mental Hospital, in the Tanzanian Usambara Mountains. Here, different meaning systems of mental illnesses shape treatment trajectories and illness outcomes. What led to these different understandings and what consequences do they have for the treatment of patients? To answer this question, I will tell the story of two definitions of the concept of “mind”: as the brain itself, and as the content of human thoughts. I will show that global and local representations of the “mind” collide inside the hospital, and how this collision affects the clinical experience of people diagnosed with a severe psychiatric illness. This emerging tension was not just the consequence of a biomedical hegemonic process, but it was also embedded in the historical trajectory and the moral fabric surrounding the hospital, as well as in the development of psychiatric care in the country.

Über den Autor
Florin Cristea holds an M.A. in Social and Cultural Anthropology from the Freie Universität in Berlin, and an M.A. in Anthropology from the National University of Political Studies and Public Administration in Bucharest. He has done exploratory research on mental health and illness in Romania, Tanzania, and Indonesia. At the intersection of medical and psychological anthropology, he is interested in local theories of mind and how they are shaped by and shape back particular moral contexts. This book is based on his M.A. research conducted in Tanzania while studying at the FU.