Culture, Medicine, and Psychiatry welcomes original research articles from a wide range of culturally inclined social science and clinical disciplines as well as medical humanities. There is a role for medical anthropology in the Cultural Studies of Science, moving more researchers into conversations and collaborations with the history and philosophy of medicine (and science, especially those that Bio-medicine applies, e.g., genetics). CMP seeks to engage medical history, narratology and medical ethics as topics with new formulations and perspectives, e.g., ‘cultural bioethics,’ as aspects of the Anthropology of Bio-medicine, a field first introduced and later developed in this Journal. Here we hope to contribute to the understanding of illness and healing, patients and healers and to help reframe conversations about each as things an sich as well as areas of critique and reform. And, we will not lose sight of the moral dimensions of illness and suffering. These enterprises will continue to be developed in CMP’s traditional comparative and cross-cultural perspective.
Original Research Articles
This has been the primary submission category and still remains so. However, we also seek to include the categories below. All submissions are subject to double-blind peer review.
Under this rubric will appear papers that are intended to make a statement of an author’s position on a matter of interest to CMP. The Communiqué is not a full article, or an Opinion. Rather, it communicates a statement of a position of the author. It may not be based upon research, as such. The first exemplar of this category is from the renowned doyen of Chinese psychiatry, and appears in 33(4).
In addition, the Communiqué may also act as a forum for expressing confutation or a contrary position to one expressed in a CMP publication. There are, necessarily, multiple methods, positions and opinions on any given subject matter. We, the editorial staff, encourage open dialogue. The Communiqué is a place where these differences of opinion may be expressed in a professional and collegial manner. Each respondent may comment only once, and the opinions expressed must abide by the rules of professional decorum and mutual respect.
This journal section is intended to be a forum for the appearance of important papers that have been presented at conferences, meetings, workshops or under other such ‘circumstances’. This section disseminates new ideas in a quotable source prior to the publication of full-length articles and thereby provides a current read of the pulse of activity in fields of interest. Circumstantial Deliveries should be short (8-15 pages) and should follow the format below:
a) Include brief details of conference or meeting in which this work was initially presented
a) Future applications or elaborations
An example of the CD appears in 31(3). The article, by Eric Engstrom, a German historian of medicine (psychiatry), signaled one of the directions in which we hope to take CMP, viz. an historical gaze on issues medical. Circumstantial Deliveries are important papers that have been given at professional meetings, workshops, conferences and/or in other professional ‘circumstances.’ Circumstantial Deliveries is a Journal section that provides for a more dynamic presence of CMP in that it serves to promptly disseminate new ideas in a more formal, citable context.
The Opinion section is a forum for the expression of opinions and comments by scholars on a variety of issues such as the thrust of an important meeting, a new health policy under discussion or recently implemented, concerns for work that needs to be done but appears not to be receiving adequate attention and so on. Opinion, as in the Lancet, represents a kind of Guest Editorial and is not intended to be a peer-reviewed research paper as are CDs, but rather an opinion editorial, or Op/Ed. The first of these appeared in Volume 31, Number 4. It was written by Peter Whitehouse, MD, PhD, and was an account from the front lines of a most prominent dementia researcher on the influences of pharmaceutical companies on medical research, scholarship and discourse and the ethical concerns thereby engendered. A second, by John Sheehan, MD, a noted endocrinologist and diabetologist, concerns the gross inadequacy of care for Diabetes Mellitus in the US and appears in 34(1).
Illness Narratives: Stories of Patients and Healers, Caregivers and Researchers
This new section, Illness Narratives: Stories of Patients, Healers, Caregivers and Researchers, takes its name, in part, from two of Arthur Kleinman’s many influential books, 1995’s The Illness Narratives and 1980’s Patients and Healers in the Context of Culture. This section appears episodically, as does the Opinion and CDs sections. It provides the chief outlet for medical humanities pieces that include narratives of illness experiences of sufferers as well as those of healers, caregivers and researchers. It is hoped that some of these will be multimedia presentations on the web as well as appearing in print.
In 2008, CMP added another new section, Instrumentalities, in response to submissions that concerned a specific psychiatric or other instrument but did not represent themselves as full articles. The Instrumentalities category thus filled a need for critical evaluations or revisions of instruments that were of use to clinicians and social scientists. The first of these appeared in the March issue of 2008, CMP 32(1).
a) Theoretical background
c) Need for the instrument
a) Development of the instrument
c) Cultural appropriateness
5. Discussion and clinical/research applications
Clinical Case Studies
Clinical Case Studies are analyses of clinical cases that are relevant to scholarship in the fields of interest of the journal.
1. Clinical History
a) Patient Identification
b) History of Present Illness
c) Psychiatric History and Previous Treatment
d) Social and Developmental History
e) Family History
f) Mental Status Exam
g) Course and Outcome
h) Diagnostic Formulation
i) Differential Diagnosis
2. Cultural Formulation
a) Cultural Identity
- Cultural reference group
- Cultural factors in development
- Involvement with culture of origin
b) Cultural Explanations of Illness
- Predominant idioms of distress and local illness categories
- Meaning and severity of symptoms in relation to cultural norms
- Perceived causes and explanatory models
- Help-seeking experiences and plans
c) Cultural Factors Related to Psychosocial Environment and Levels of Functioning
- Social stressors
- Social supports
- Levels of functioning and disability
d) Cultural elements in the Clinician-Patient Relationship
e) Overall Cultural Assessment
Cultural Case Studies
Cultural Case Studies (CuCS) have paralleled the traditional Clinical Case Studies (CCS) that have appeared for some time in CMP. However, the Cultural Case Studies’ perspectives are from the ‘anthropological clinic’ rather than the psychiatric. The focus of Cultural Case Studies is on cultural and psychocultural aspects of a case and its social/cultural context rather than specific, formal criteria of psychiatric evaluation. The elements of significance, thus, can vary from case to case. We have published several of these Cultural Case Studies and continue to publish Clinical Case Studies as well.
a. Theoretical grounding
b. Cultural framework in which the case is located
c. Explanation of the analytic framework
3. Presentation of the Case
4. Theoretical analysis
5. Cultural problematization (by this we mean: what theoretical conflicts does the case engender for the practitioner/researcher? What conflicts arise in a practical sense for individual being presented as the ‘case,’ and how are they illustrative of the theoretical conflicts?)
On-line Book Review
Books are received by the journal and appear in the journal’s End Matters. These may be requested for review by CMP’s readership. Such reviews may appear in CMP, following editorial review. Book Reviews appear in print as well as on-line, and are between 10-12 pages on average (though they are sometimes shorter, depending on the work). The first of these appeared in33(2). General guidelines are provided below, but CMP recognizes that these may change slightly depending on the nature of the work.
1. Discussion of the main arguments of the book and the evidence that is presented to substantiate the author’s claims
2. Contributions made by the book to theoretical and methodological debates
3. A critical rendering of the merits and weaknesses of the book