In 1981, Toronto activist Mel Starkman wrote: “An important new movement is sweeping through the western world…The ‘mad,’ the oppressed, the ex-inmates of society’s asylums are coming together and speaking for themselves”. This is the first Canadian book to bring together the writings of this vital movement, which has grown explosively in the years since. With contributions from scholars in numerous disciplines, as well as activists and psychiatric survivors, it presents diverse critical voices that convey the lived experiences of the psychiatrised and challenges dominant understandings of ‘mental illness’. The connections between mad activism and other liberation struggles are stressed throughout, making the book a major contribution to the literature on human rights and anti-oppression.
On Thursday 24 October 2013 Peter Beresford, Professor of Social Policy at Brunel University and chair of Shaping Our Lives, a national disabled people’s and service users’ organisation and network, who identifies himself as a mental health service user, introduced Mad Matters at the 17th Edinburgh Independent Radical Book Fair. A podcast of his talk – an interesting talk that raises important points and questions about ‘madness’ and ‘mad knowledge’-can be accessed through the web link below: