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Tracing the maddening effects of abuses of authority: Rationalities gone violent in mental health services and universities.

Palmer, Marilyn
June 4, 2015

Source: (2014) Social Alternatives. 33(3):28-36.

Organisations such as mental health systems and universities can be places where violence is
part of the business as usual and hence taken-for-granted functionality of the workplaces. The
paper challenges dominant perceptions of who is mad and what is dangerous to unsettle the
largely unquestioned legitimacy of indirect and mainly, but not always, non-coercive forms of
organisational power. To enable this analysis the research and language of domestic violence is
presented to help anchor the nature of organisational violence so that it doesn’t get ignored or
deferred as non-problematic, as something that just happens somehow separate from peoples’
actions or non-actions. The discursive and material nature of violence in our human organisations
can be addressed through tracing the maddening effects it can have on people and by addressing
issues of harm, loss and injustice through dialogue, resistance and restorative justice work. (author’s abstract)


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