Abstract

Abstract:

The personal accounts of people with psychiatric diagnoses are increasingly being used in research in the United Kingdom, the United States, and other Western countries. Whether these studies entail face-to-face interviews and subsequent work with transcripts or they are based on published first-person accounts, they give rise to similar concerns and dilemmas. Sensitive to the power divisions inherent in psychiatric diagnosis and treatment, this paper explores the role of consent and the significance of the researcher’s identity alongside issues of ultimate interpretative authority and research ownership. Revisiting several narrative studies in the fields of psychiatry and mental health, this paper focuses on the epistemic implications of what Mike Oliver calls the ‘social relations of research production’ and argues that the research task of making meaning of experience must be shared. The potential contributions of survivor-controlled research and Arthur Frank’s dialogical narrative analysis are highlighted in this context.

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