For centuries, scientists and society cast moral judgments on anyone deemed mentally ill, confining many to asylums. In Nobody's Normal, anthropologist Roy Richard Grinker chronicles the progress and setbacks in the struggle against mental-illness stigma--from the eighteenth century, through America's major wars, and into today's high-tech economy.
Nobody’s Normal shows how a society’s needs and prejudices shape how it deals with mental illness, from the regrettable asylums and lobotomies of past centuries to the recent corporate trend of recruiting employees with autism. Grinker makes an edgier point, too: that cultural circumstances — whether in combat or on a college campus — can influence how someone expresses psychological pain ... The book sings with the empathetic and authoritative voice of Grinker, whose studies have investigated how autism is perceived across the world.
Grinker...is an engaging writer, and an able and authoritative guide to the social history of mental illness ... A brilliant insight that emerges again and again from the book, though never articulated as such, is that it is hard to imagine stigma without a constellation of beliefs that are distinctly Western and Judeo-Christian ... What becomes clear, in reading Grinker’s book, is that at several points in our recent history, our stories, far from making sense of suffering or easing it, have served to dehumanize people and deprive them of their dignity
From autism to anorexia, people with mental illnesses or neurodivergent brains have long experienced stigma ... In the fascinating and illuminating Nobody’s Normal: How Culture Created the Stigma of Mental Illness, Grinker explores the origins of this stigmatization ... His compassion shines through in this meticulously researched and carefully written book, a passionate call for humans to think about how we view those with mental illness.