University of California Press

Madness ‘haunts all of our imaginations’, writes Andrew Scull in Psychiatry and Its Discontents, but it is more than a nightmare. Each year, one in five Australians will experience mental illness, according to the Black Dog Institute, and the World Health Organization warns that one in four globally will experience a mental or neurological disorder during their lifetime. The essays gathered here, however, raise grave doubts about the psychiatric knowledge and practice upon which these epidemiologies are based.

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Many recent American politicians have believed that they could speak Spanish. Presidential candidate George W. Bush stumbled through a Spanish-language interview and was rewarded with thirty-five per cent of the Latino vote in the 2000 election. His brother Jeb, whose wife is Mexican-born ...

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‘Arab France’ will immediately suggest to some readers debates about the wearing of Muslim headscarves in public schools and, more generally, about the place of North African migrants in contemporary French life, as well as the riots that erupted in 2005 in suburbs with substantial Arabic populations ...

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Barack Obama has promised to change the way America does things. If he is serious about this when it comes to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, we can only hope that he will read Neve Gordon’s examination of Israel’s post-1967 rule of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. The subject matter, and the occasionally choking academic writing, do not make for a pretty story. But the book might serve to temper the new president’s apparently effusive support for Israel. That country’s occupation of the Palestinian territories, and its determined settlement-building programme, are an ongoing disaster for Israelis and Palestinians alike.

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This is not an easy book to read. It is crammed full of ideas, literary and musical allusions, and theories about law and justice. The author’s basic thesis – that law is a concept imperfectly realised, continuously reinterpreted, and always in flux – is not really controversial in legal circles in Australia today, let alone novel. The most influential legal scholar in Australia’s history, Professor Julius Stone, taught that simple truth to generations of law students in Sydney between the 1940s and the 1980s. Now, Desmond Manderson is the first director of the Julius Stone Institute for Jurisprudence at Stone’s old law school at the University of Sydney. He has taken up Stone’s grand theme, adding some fresh insights of his own. He has done so in this handsome book, beautifully published by the University of California Press. And there is much that is good and useful in it. But his gems are sometimes maddeningly hidden in a torrent of words that succeed in obscuring the ideas the author wants to get over to the reader.

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