A new article now available online from History of Psychiatry may interest AHP readers: “Managing Chineseness: neurasthenia and psychiatry in Taiwan in the second half of the twentieth century,” by Wen-Ji Wang. Abstract:
The present study investigates the role of Taiwanese psychiatrists in turning neurasthenia into a culture-specific disease in the late twentieth century. It first delineates the shift in both explanatory models of psychoneuroses and patient population in post-World War II Taiwan. Neurasthenia became a focus of international attention in the 1970s and 1980s with the advance of cultural psychiatry, and, as China was closed to the outside world, Taiwanese psychiatrists were influential in framing the cultural meaning of neurasthenia. With the rise of post-socialist China, Taiwan lost its status as a key laboratory of Chinese studies. This paper argues that the history of neurasthenia during the period was closely associated with the professional development and national identity of Taiwanese psychiatrists.