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Author: Andrew Shepherd


Within the emerging field of evolutionary psychology a consensus is developing that the triggering of emotions is integral to the human response to threats. This understanding of human psychology underlies a vigorous debate within the contemporary activity of climate change communication regarding the efficacy of the emotions of fear vis-à-vis hope for mobilising human behavioural change. Noting the contours of this debate and the paucity of radical future vision casting within contemporary western political discourse, the article examines how images of terror function within the ‘Little Apocalypse’ passage in Matthew 24 and potential insights this offers to our contemporary situation. Building upon this biblical reflection, the article contends that the Christian practices of preaching and singing have significant power to shape communal imaginative visions of alternative futures. As such, these practices are critical gifts that the church can offer the environmental movement and broader society in this moment of time.

In: International Journal of Public Theology

Experiences traditionally associated with madness, or psychosis, for example hearing voices or delusional belief, are increasingly being recognised within healthy populations. Such findings raise the possibility of madness existing on a continuum with other mental states. However, this is not in keeping with the application of classic diagnostic systems, commonly used by mental health services, which utilise categorical descriptions, including symptom lists, and a normative component in terms of impact on the individual’s capacity to maintain social roles. Such systems are atheoretical and risk stripping experiences of its phenomenological impact. In contrast, recent clinical guidance, such as Understanding Psychosis and Schizophrenia from the British Psychological Society, emphasises the importance of individual meaning in relation to experience and the pertinence of this in relation to working with individuals seeking clinical support. In distinction to diagnoses such as Schizophrenia and Bipolar disorder, often referred to as major mental illness, the experiences of individuals in receipt of a personality disorder diagnosis sit more clearly at the frontier between madness and normality. Indeed the commonest such diagnosis, borderline personality disorder, was so named in recognition of its straddling the psychoanalytic divide between psychosis and neurosis. The experiences of individuals with personality disorder diagnoses may therefore offer a window and framework through which the division between sanity and madness can be viewed. To explore this phenomena in more detail a research study, underway at the University of Manchester, seeks to capture the lived experience of people with a personality disorder diagnosis; including the manner in which they make sense of their personal experience and seek help in relation to distress. Through the use of narrative interviews this study seeks to make sense of the conceptual space existing in the borderlands around madness; and so inform the manner in which mental distress can be understood.

In: Muses, Mystics, Madness: The Diagnosis and Celebration of Mental Illness


This article traces the emergence and institutionalization of plantation systems and cash crops in East Timor over two centuries. It examines the continuities, ruptures and shifting politics across successive plantation styles and political regimes, from Portuguese colonialism through Indonesian occupation to post-colonial independence. In following plantation agriculture from its origins to the present, the article explores how plantation subjects have been formed successively through racial discourse, repressive discipline, technical authority and neoliberal market policies. We argue that plantation politics have been instrumental in reproducing the class distinctions that remain evident in East Timor today.

Open Access