First-of-its-kind book addresses psychiatric epidemiology
The first volume of historical scholarship addressing psychiatric epidemiology was published over the summer, co-edited by CUNY SPH Professor Emeritus Gerald Oppenheimer. "Reimagining Psychiatric Epidemiology in a Global Frame: Toward a Social and Conceptual History" traces the development of the discipline, specifically its constructs, methods and its social, cultural or political purposes over time. It is through this double lens—conceptual and social—that it envisions the history of the field. The book shows that history to be a global phenomenon, formed by multiple approaches.
"These numerous historical paths have not resulted in a uniform disciplinary field based on a common paradigm, as happened arguably in other areas of epidemiology, but a plurality of psychiatric epidemiologies driven by different intellectual question, reformist ideals, national cultures, colonial experiences, multiply forms of inequality, international influences and social controls objectives," says Oppenheimer.
"When examined together, the chapters depict an uneven global development of regional epidemiologies influenced by the transnational circulation and selective uptakes of concepts and techniques. Such currents moved through multidirectional pathways between the Global North and South."
The chapters tracing this complex history focus on Brazil, Nigeria, Senegal, India, Taiwan, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada, as well as multi-country networks. The editors say they hope that working within a global paradigm will create a new approach toward understanding psychiatric epidemiology, question its universalist assumptions and provide greater prominence for researchers in the Global South.