A Field Guide to Getting the Lost Art of Unrecovery – Introduction

Filed under:A Field Guide to the Lost Art of Unrecovery — posted by Schizostroller on July 26, 2018 @ 1:50 pm

A Field Guide to Getting the Lost Art of Unrecovery


This chapter is an attempt to write a navigation of the linguistic terrain that a subject defined as psychotic, by a mode of diagnosis used by the state as sovereign, may find him/herself in, from an academic-participant perspective. As such it will be first written apophenically (as a ‘psychotic’, writing in a stream of consciousness like Virginia Woolf or James Joyce, or speaking for and of oneself in a Freudian clinic) and then in the sense that Ernest Hemmingway, supposedly commenting on his own writing style, claimed that he “wrote when drunk, edited whilst sober”, having written, I shall then edit the text down and try to untangle, in to academically digestible parts, such an experience (following on from an attempt to do so in an article I wrote for Asylum magazine in 2012 ) but rather than try to analyse the narrative in a purely Freudian or analytical, sense, I shall try to explain it with reference modern social theory. Gregory Bateson argues that induction is all very well, it is deduction based on a knowledge of applicable theories that improves a scientific argument . This social theory shall be the frame to my Jackson Pollock’s logorrhoea, in Heideggerian terms, it unveils the enframing, Das Gestell, of the writing and in doing so I look for possible ways that an emancipatory practice can be thought, spoken or written into being, the limits of language and the possibilities of an embodied manumission that does not rest on alienated selves, at least not ideal selves, and their relationship to the Other, one that does not take the form of an unquestioning, uncritical, radical acceptance of the status quo. Thus, there is a morphogenetic non-Aristotlean (or non-Platonic) practice involved here.
In making the apophenic narrative more digestible I shall be using ideas of agency and space, language and thought. Within the realm of these ideas of agency I shall be exploring the possibilities of action for the psychotic i.e. ideas known in contemporary language as ‘choice’ – their possibilities, limits and the ideological use of the term. It shall be implied that as a narrative arc of a UK based psychotic, the chapter’s locus will be one that is takes place within the architecture of the UK NHS and welfare system, and the relation to it in everyday life that is often a part of the ‘psychotic’ experience. I shall also be exploring the quadratic relation between NHS, market, work and alternative possibilities available to the autonomous subject looking at some current ideas of subjectivation: I will be employing the theorists Erving Goffman, Michel Foucault, Gilles Deleuze, Felix Guattari and Henri Lefebvre to look at the space of this terrain. Goffman for the dramaturgical relation, Foucault for the forms of governance involved, Deleuze for the multiplicities involved in these relations, Guattari for the transversality, and Lefebvre to look at the spatial aspects of this agency and terrain. I shall also be looking at the ideological forms that are formed in this contested terrain, for this endeavour I will be using Max Weber, Jürgen Habermas, Axel Honneth, Nick Crossley, as well as a Sigmund Freud, Wilfrid Bion, Ronald Laing and Jacques Lacan and again Michel Foucault, Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari. I will be reflecting on constructs (or phantasms) using ideas such as Ronald Laing’s authoritarian nexus and Deleuze and Guattari’s concept of assemblages.
With reference to ideas of the body, whilst navigating this terrain, I will also be referring to the cognitive work of neuroscientists such as Antonio Damasio and Daniel Freeman, the work on memory of Charles Fernyhough, as well as contemporary theories of embodiment, and from here I shall attempt a criticism of the relation of such a body to the NHS system via its use of applied techniques such as CBT, DBT, Recovery Stars and other audited outcome measure based tools referring to the proliferation and homogenisation of such tools within the NHS under neoliberalism. And finally, to avoid a nihilist critique I will look at possibilities of creating future action and practices that lead to more autonomous and self-determining ways of living.
The title refers both to the term ‘unrecovery’ developed by the mental health activist collective Recovery In The Bin and to a book by the author Rebecca Solnit called ‘The Field Guide to Getting Lost ’, with a hint towards Michel Foucault’s conception of Life as Art . As this proposal uses a variety of critical and reflective theoretical positions, this chapter will be a preliminary sketch for further detailed studies.

one comment so far

  1. Here’s to a funky plane for the psychotic. Years ago I wondered if I could i could be gainfully a classical zero worker. If psychosis had a measure of economic gambit here I’d have succeeded. Bon chance a tout

    Comment by Ariel Riveros — July 27, 2018 @ 11:36 pm

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image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace