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Theater of Disorder: Patients, Doctors, and the Construction of Illness

BMJ 2002; 324 doi: (Published 25 May 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;324:1282
  1. Sean A Spence, clinical senior lecturer in psychiatry (
  1. University of Sheffield

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    In this bold, intellectual tour de force Brant Wenegrat argues that many of the more exotic neuroses of our time (multiple personality disorder, alien abduction, and recovered memory syndromes) and the transient possession states of “traditional” cultures are really forms of acting—commonly executed by those who are disenfranchised. “The truth is that some psychologists, psychiatrists, and physicians have made their careers directing role enactments,” he says.

    This critique builds upon “normal” social psychology, demonstrating the extent to which human behaviour can be directed by social cues. More …

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