Foucault News

News and resources on French thinker Michel Foucault (1926-1984)

Jager, F., Perron, A.
How identity is produced and experienced in the context of mandated community-based mental health care: An application of the theories of Grosz and Foucault
(2023) Nursing Inquiry

DOI: 10.1111/nin.12552

Despite changes to research and practice, that, to some degree, acknowledge that people are shaped by their contexts, the treatment of mental illness remains largely focused on interventions that take place at the level of the individual. Conceptualizing mental illness as something that resides in individuals can lead to reliance on neurobiological and psychotherapeutic solutions, and away from conversations about not only contextual causes of mental distress, but also sociopolitical solutions to mental distress. Further, it can lead to the use of mental health interventions that focus on the biology of an individual without a consideration for how those interventions themselves may have psychological, social, or political consequences that act to shape an individual’s identity, agency, and relationship to their community. This paper examines one medicolegal intervention, the community treatment order, using the philosophical work of Grosz and Foucault to consider how this intervention affects the experience and construction of identity, and the impact of this on an individual’s sense of agential membership in a community. This discussion aims to increase understanding of the individual and social implications of interventions for mental illness, and provide a conceptualization of the relationship between identity, agency, and ethics which can inform critical research and nursing practice more broadly. © 2023 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Author Keywords
agency; community treatment order; critical research; Elizabeth Grosz; ethics; identity; mental health care; Michel Foucault

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