Recovering voices in mental health, families and anthropology : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Masters of Arts in Social Anthropology, Massey University, Albany, New Zealand
This essay discusses some experiences of families, carers and people with experience
of mental ill-health and recovery in New Zealand, focussing on ‘recovering moments’
in social exchanges, families, mental health settings and in anthropological research.
It draws comparisons between phenomenological approaches in anthropology and
practices promoted in recent mental health recovery philosophy, with a particular
focus on the production and exchange of particular local expertise, much of which
resists academic appropriation or definition. The value, currency and relevance of
these ‘recovering voices’ relates to their being privileged, validated and transmitted in
ethical exchanges in a range of social settings that exemplify aspects of Marcel
Mauss’ discussion of the act of giving, receiving and repaying (1980:34).