Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
Crazy Like Us: The Globalization of the American Psyche Paperback – March 22, 2011
|New from||Used from|
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently bought together
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
"Ethan Watters has traveled the world to look at how globalization reaches far beyond economics and into people's very conceptions of what constitutes health and sanity. I find his book provocative, original, and convincing." -- Adam Hochschild, author of "Bury the Chains" and "King Leopold's Ghost"
""Crazy Like Us" is both groundbreaking and shocking...Whether Watters' book will be sand in the engines of the bulldozers remains to be seen. At least it proves the West, despite its best intentions, does not possess all the answers."--"The Boston Globe"
"Watters commands attention with his repartee and conversational manner while drawing much-needed attention to the consequences of Western intrusion. This fascinating book deserves attention from mental health workers and Americans interested in the reach of their culture's psyche across the globe."-- "Library Journal"
"Ethan Watters has a truly original take on the way our country shapes the expression of mental illness around the globe. His is one of those books you can't stop thinking about or referring to in conversation, that permanently changes your perspective on beliefs you took for granted." -- Peggy Orenstein, author of "Waiting for Daisy"
"I couldn't put it down. "Crazy Like Us" is a fascinating and provocative intellectual travelogue, and Watters is a fearless guide." -- Alan Burdick, author of "Out of Eden"
"Searing, startling, and utterly unforgettable. Ethan Watters brilliantly surveys the stark interior cost of globalization, from our export of stress disorders to Sri Lanka to our marketing of depression in Japan as 'a cold of the soul.' "Crazy Like Us" is a grand tour of the new global psyche, distorted and darkened by the export of the American dream." -- Jason Roberts, National Book Critics Circle finalist for "A Sense of the World"
""Crazy Like Us" is a blistering and truly original work of reporting and analysis, uncovering America's role in homogenizing how the world defines wellness and healing." -- Po Bronson, author of "NurtureShock"
"In crisp journalistic style, Watters argues convincingly that what the American psychiatric industry exports is not so much drugs as diseases." --"Mother Jones"
".".."in addition to the cultural flotsam that drives the rest of the world crazy, America is literally exporting its mental illnesses...[Watters] is on to something worth pondering." --"Time" magazine
"A devastating account of America's psychological adventures abroad. The stories Watters tells will move you, surprise you, and occasionally infuriate you, and they will change the way you think about culture, human nature, and the mind." -- Paul Tough, author of "Whatever it Takes"
About the Author
Ethan Watters is the author of Urban Tribes, an examination of the mores of the "never-marrieds," and the coauthor of Making Monsters, a groundbreaking indictment of the recovered memory movement. A frequent contributor to The New York Times Magazine, Discover, Men's Journal, Wired, and This American Life, he lives in San Francisco with his wife and children.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
He is able to keep his readers captivated by incorporating the stories of people who are inflicted with this disorder. He also allows the reader to see how the disorder progressed from having a cultural specific identity to being manipulated into an entirely new being. One of his first examples is that of anorexia in China, at first the reason behind the disorder was completely different from our own, that was until it became exposed to the population.
Which is where Watters introduces the concept of western technology and science. In his book he stakes the claim that because of the advanced science and technology possessed by the United States, leads to less economically stable countries to embrace ideas that are foreign to them without thinking how it will affect their cultural background. He proves this point several times in the book, whether it be the United States influencing the introduction of a mental illness to another country, or the use of data collected in the United States in order to push a new SSRI.
Watter’s takes a topic that is what some would call near and dear to individuals of the United States, as mental illness is becoming a more prominent issues, and showing how it is negatively affecting societies that have not been introduced to these ideas. Meaning that no these societies quite possible did have these disorders in their society but before the globalization of their symptoms and definitions they had an entirely different meaning. They became something new instead of what they had always been. The reader sees then when reading chapter three of schizophrenics in Africa, the disorder was always there just never given a name or symptoms addressed to it. Instead it was just a burden to bare from God. Which is where the reader gets to see how the society accepts and treats the disorder.
Watters book is very well constructed and easy to lose oneself in because of the stories he tells of others, and does not bog down the reading with countless studies done, or scholarly information that takes away from the meaning. If one is interested in anthropology, and medical studies this is definitely a book to read. It not only touches base with American culture, but several other cultures, and also gives the reader a taste of the medical aspects of the world. It also allows the reader to see a more in depth view of medical companies and how sometimes these companies are not out for the betterment of individuals; they are out for the betterment of their wallets. Watters took a unique topic and allowed the individuals stories speak for themselves on how globalization has left a devastating footprint on numerous societies; a footprint that some individuals may not be able to recover from.
Journalist Ethan Watters masterfully evokes the heady admixture of moral certainty and profit motive that drives U.S. clinicians and pharmaceutical companies as they evangelically push Western psychiatry around the globe. On the ground in Sri Lanka following the tsunami, for example, hordes of Western counselors hit the ground running, aggressively competing for access to a native population "clearly in denial" about the extent of their trauma. Backing up the foot soldiers are corporations like Pfizer, eager to market the antidepressant Zoloft to a virgin population.
Watters has done his homework. Each of his four examples of DSM-style disorders being introduced around the world is rich in historical and cultural context. Despite their divergences, each successful expansion hinges on the mutual faith of both the colonizers and the colonized that Western approaches represent the pillar of scientific progress.
It is ironic that Americans are so smugly assured of the superiority of our cultural beliefs and practices, in the face of mounting evidence to the contrary. Do we really want others to emulate a country with skyrocketing levels of emotional distress, where jails and prisons are the primary sites of mental health care? Does our simplistic cultural metaphor of mental illness as a "chemical imbalance, " with human minds reduced to "a batter of chemicals we carry around in the mixing bowls of our skulls," represent true enlightenment?
Our implicit condescension is made explicit if we imagine the converse, one of Watters' interview subjects points out: "Imagine our reaction if Mozambicans flew over after 9/11 and began telling survivors that they needed to engage in a certain set of rituals in order to sever their relationships with their deceased family members. How would that sit with us?"
Not only is our missionary zeal condescending, it may be harmful. Watters provides evidence to suggest that the "hyperintrospective" and "hyperindividualist" model of Western psychiatry can be destabilizing to time-worn, tried-and-true indigenous healing practices, in some cases even producing the problems we naively believe we are combating.
"What is certain," Watters cautions in his conclusion, "is that in other places in the world, cultural conceptions of the mind remain more intertwined with a variety of religious and cultural beliefs as well as the ecological and social world. They have not yet separated the mind from the body, nor have they disconnected individual mental health from that of the group. With little appreciation of these differences, we continue our efforts to convince the rest of the world to think like us. Given the level of contentment and psychological health our cultural beliefs about the mind have brought us, perhaps it's time that we rethink our generosity."
Perhaps it is already too late to turn back the tide. Thanks to the exportation of Western diet and lifestyle, 19 out of 20 inhabitants of the tiny island of Nauru in the Pacific Islands are now obese. Previously hardy islanders are stroking out in their 20s and 30s. The globalization of the American psyche is more insidious, but perhaps in the end it will prove equally catastrophic.
Reading Crazy Like Us left me with a nightmare image of a homogeneous future world with McDonald's and Starbucks (see my review of Starbucked: A Double Tall Tale of Caffeine, Commerce, and Culture) on every corner, obesity gone wild, and Western psychiatry reigning supreme.