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8 | 2024
Aux sources de la folie

Sources of Madness
Edited by Gina Aïtmehdi, Camille Evrard, Raphaël Gallien, Paul Marquis and Romain Tiquet

The contributions composing this special issue bring together historians and anthropologists to explore the daily realities of madness under and in the aftermath of colonialism. Drawing on institutional and personal archives, interviews and testimonies, observations and photographs, but also tackling absence and refusal, the six articles span French West Africa and contemporary Algeria, Gabon and Ghana, as well as colonial Algeria and the Upper Volta in the 1970s.
This diversity of contexts highlights the complementarity and/or competition between medical and non-medical representations of madness, including those formulated by people suffering from psychiatric disorders and their families and friends.
The issue thus highlights the intersection of various “dispositifs” (medical, judicial, religious or ritual), bodies of knowledge and spaces dealing with madness, in order to capture the complexity of life trajectories. By critically analysing the forms of intimacy established with the respondents, we ultimately examine how methodological reflexivity contributes to renewing the epistemological basis for the study of madness in Africa.

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