Against All Odds: Psychosocial Distress and Healing Among Women


Author: Mahima Nayar

9789353281915 | HB | pp. 276 | 2018 | SAGE, YODA Press

This book explores the cause of psychosocial distress in women and the means of healing sought by them.

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This book uses vivid ethnographic narratives to study linkages between socio-economic conditions and the mental health of women living in low-income neighbourhoods of big cities. After presenting anthropological insights related to the understanding of madness, mental health and mental illness, the author illustrates how the social position of women and factors inherent in urbanism have an impact on the level of psychosocial distress they experience. The book further explores the increasing medicalization of social problems whereby instead of actual problems being addressed, women get ‘treated’.

The author also takes stock of the different kinds of local ‘healing’ processes sought by women, and examines how the women’s movement and cultural ways of healing have helped women in reducing the distress and violence in their everyday lives. Drawing from the author’s ethnographic research in Delhi, the book offers a vital exploration of the interactions between individuals and systems, and argues that an equitable society is what is required to reduce psychosocial distress. This timely book that cuts across disciplinary locations will be of interest to scholars of gender studies, psychology and psychotherapy, social work and anthropology.


Mahima Nayar









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About the Author

The author is a scholar with over fifteen years experience in practice, research and academics. Her educational qualifications include a Masters in Social Work from Tata Institute of Social Sciences, M.Phil in Psychiatric Social Work from National Institute of Mental Health and Social Sciences, Bengaluru and PhD from Jawaharlal Nehru University. She was the gold medalist in her M.Phil Programme. She has worked in the area of recovering and rehabilitating women and children from vulnerable situations, women facing domestic violence and survivors of sexual assault (women and children), persons with psychosocial disabilities and their families. She has also taught at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai in areas related to disability, women, children and families.


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