Anthropological mirror of psychiatry
This essay is an attempt at presenting and critically introducing Tanya M. Luhrmann’s Of Two Minds: The Growing Disorder in American Psychiatry. In her comprehensive anthropological overview of American psychiatry, Luhrmann analyzes two general models of psychiatric practice. The first biomedical model is based on DSM standards and pharmacology. The second psychodynamic model is related to classical talking cure therapies. Luhrmann presents and comments on the general consequences of this scientific as well as social conflict from the perspective of professional medical training in the USA. In the first part of the paper I adumbrate the political, economic and sociological background of Luhrmann’s study, especially the most important reforms in the realm of health-care. The second part is devoted to the reconstruction of and critical remarks on Luhrmann’s anthropological study. In the last part I present conclusions and final comments. Luhrmann’s book is still relevant, especially in Poland, because it shows the importance of scientific conflicts in patients’ everyday lives. Although Luhrmann avoids political contexts in her study of psychiatry, she verifies the most important assumption of a democratic society: how a strong and healthy majority treats a weak and sick minority.