Language for Those Who have Nothing

Mikhail Bakhtin and the Landscape of Psychiatry

  • Authors
  • Peter Good

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xvii
  2. Pages 1-19
  3. Pages 21-31
  4. Pages 143-180
  5. Pages 181-210
  6. Pages 211-216
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 227-242

About this book


The aim of Language for those who have Nothing is to think psychiatry through the writings of Mikhail Bakhtin. Using the concepts of Dialogism and Polyphony, the Carnival and the Chronotope, a novel means of navigating the clinical landscape is developed.
Bakhtin offers language as a social phenomenon and one that is fully embodied. Utterances are shown to be alive and enfleshed and their meanings realised in the context of given social dimensions. The organisation of this book corresponds with carnival practices of taking the high down to the low before replenishing its meaning anew. Thus early discussions of official language and the chronotope become exposed to descending levels of analysis and emphasis.
Patients and practitioners are shown to occupy an entirely different spatio-temporal topography. These chronotopes have powerful borders and it is necessary to use the Carnival powers of cunning and deception in order to enter and to leave them. The book provides an overview of practitioners who have attempted such transgression and the author records his own unnerving experience as a pseudopatient. By exploring the context of psychiatry's unofficial voices: its terminology, jokes, parodies, and everyday narratives, the clinical landscape is shown to rely heavily on unofficial dialogues in order to safeguard an official identity.


Encounter Organisation identity language psychiatry

Bibliographic information

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