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The Culture-Subjectivity-Psyche programme



Decoding CUSP

For CUSP, mind (M1), mental dis-ease (M2) and mental health/well-being (M3) mutually constitute a triad of registers.


In the first register – mind – M1 – we have questions like "what is mind ",  "what is it to be minded",  "what is the structure and logic of the mind"  and related questions like "who am I" (in terms of my psychic economy) and given the structure of one's mind, "how does one live"? The register of M1 has a long list of players and contending positions. To understand M1, one has to think through philosophy and science, think through philosophy of mind and the science(s) of the mind; one has to think through psychoanalysis, behaviourism, phenomenology, cognitive science and neurobiology focused respectively on repression-unconscious, objective observables, subjectivities, computation and neurotransmitters; one also has to think through non-western and non-modern cultures of psychology.


To attend to mental dis-ease – M2 – one needs to consider three questions:

  • One needs to rethink questions related to the knowledge and diagnosis of mental dis-ease in the clinical setting and the dilemmas that inhere within these.

  • One needs to rethink the therapeutic, in the context of the clinic, in terms of the prescribing of drugs as also in terms of psychotherapy-counseling and why not, free association and 'the talking cure' in a psychoanalytic setting, without neglecting the experience of suffering.

  • Thirdly, in the context of the clinic, one needs to rethink the ethics of the mental health clinic and the rights of the mentally dis-eased, along with thinking through notions of care and cure.


    To think through mental health/well-being – M3 – one has to rethink it at two levels – the individual and the social – rethink it at the level of the subject as also at the level of culture. One also has to rethink it at the cusp of the institution (here the mental health hospital) and the clinic of the individual practitioner as at the cusp of community-family. One has to also work at the cusp of the economic, the political and the cultural axes.


The imagination of CUSP, stems from the realization that one needs to attend to mind, mental dis-ease and mental health/well-being in multiple ways - spanning from the "scientific approach" to the "legal" to the "social science-humanities approach". One needs to work at the cusp of multiple perspectives - Biomedical Psychiatry (driven by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual [DSM] and by neuro-psycho-pharmacology) and Social Psychology, Institutional cure (i.e. the Mental Health Clinic and the Hospital) and "Folk" care, Western and Non-western, Modern and Non-modern perspectives to mind, mental dis-ease and mental health, as also work at the cusp of Hospital-Community-Family

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