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Conferences & lectures

Stories of Madness: Exploring resistance, conformity, resiliency, agency and disengagement in mental health narratives

Date & time

Friday, October 2, 2020
3 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.


Matthew S. Johnston


This event is free


Sociology and Anthropology


Chris Hurl



Sociology & Anthropology Speakers Series

Register on Zoom.

Matthew Johnston will explore the ways in which those who experience serious mental illness resist some of the control mechanisms, relationships of power and infantilizing rituals found within the Canadian mental health system, and survive abject circumstances.

He will draw on his own autoethnographic experiences with psychosis and psychiatric hospitalization, as well as narrative interviews with mental health service users, to argue that we are agential in ways that are commonly overlooked in biomedical discourses. Johnston will identify some of the porous boundaries between the livable and unlivable forms of madness, and explore the complex relationships between service users and their caregivers whose penultimate goal is to help us live a manageable life.

About the speaker

Matthew Johnston is a SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Concordia University. He has published a number of journal articles on the topics of gender, security and mental health, most notably in Disability & Society, Qualitative Research, Men and Masculinities, Crime Media Culture, Gender, Work & Organization, Social Movement Studies, and Punishment & Society. In addition to his work on private security, social institutions, hegemonic masculinity and transgender students, Johnston is interested in exploring how persons labelled as mentally ill navigate their involvement with the psychiatric apparatus.

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