Mapping the mental condition of Berlin - Tanja Knaus

Tanja Knaus ( Austria )

Her project for ZKU 'Mapping the mental condition of Berlin' is about finding a new way of research production, in the field of “anthropology of mental illnesses”, which is an interdisciplinary subfield of anthropology that studies the interaction of cultural and mental processes. But the main focus will be on the relation between mental illnesses and the city of Berlin. “In the last 3,000 years, the history of humankind has been tied to the history of cities. With half of the world’s population living in urban settings now, it’s urgent that we examine them and update our understanding. Steven Johnson, for example shares the history of mapping innovation that helped wipe out a deadly disease in London, and brought about a new reading of urban epidemics and public health. “ (www.ted.com) I will focus on the borderline between social suffering to a serious mental disorder. Social suffering shows how people suffer form their ordinary social life. It is experienced as pain and suffering, at least as much as joy and happiness. Such collective pain and suffering is already normative and normal. (Kleinman, 1997) Max Weber foresaw; “An iron cage of rationality (protocols and regulations) replaced human emotion.” The tool, used during the research period, to test the theories and conclusions, are; “Maps”. Like the map for cholera outbreak in london (1850) from John Snow. With the help of this map he tried to support his theory. He figured out that not bad small was the reason for the cholera epidemic, it was the cause of poisoned water. London was the first city which had such a big number of people living in. So they where questioning themselves, if a city of that size is even meant for people to live in.