Rethinking gender, risk and depression in Australian mental health policy

Simone Fullagar, Maureen Gattuso

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    In this article we draw upon the work of governmentality and cultural risk theorists (Foucault 1991; Rose 1999; Dean 1999; Lupton 1999) and feminist research into women's experience of depression (Stoppard, 2000) to develop a gendered analysis of recent Australian mental health policies. We explore the power-knowledge relations that shape current policy directions, and hence the thinking that guides health professionals, in relation to women's experience of depression and emotional distress in society today. Policy discourses are a means through which neo-liberal rule is exercised in relation to women's emotional lives as a population and as individuals identified as 'at risk' of mental disorder. Yet, a sociocultural analysis of the gendered experience of depression has been largely ignored within mental health policy that draws upon biomedical and psychological discourses aimed at the prevention, identification and treatment of disorder. We ask where, in this contemporary regime of truth, is there room for women to ask critical questions about their own experiences of selfhood and emotions in contemporary culture, and importantly, to be heard?
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)145-157
    Number of pages13
    JournalAustralian e-Journal for the Advancement of Mental Health
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2002


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