The Series

Cross Disciplinary Thinking about ‘Antisocial Personality Disorder’.

The aim of the series is to investigate and promote cross disciplinary understanding of the problem of Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD) as we believe that the subject of ASPD merits far wider cross disciplinary debate than is currently the case. There are important historical, cultural and sociological dimensions to this problem that need to be subjected to further enquiries which can feed into debate on policy and practice in this area.

We are referring to ASPD here as shorthand, but recognise that the difficulties described by the label are also those that might overlap with those included under other personality disorder labels such ’borderline’, ‘narcissistic’, or indeed such categories involving the recognition of complex emotional needs, or ‘multiple exclusion homelessness’ (Scanlon and Adlam 2012) . Our contention is that examination of these categories, and of the various initiatives that have been put forward over the past 12 years or so in the UK, suggests that we need to understand far more about the social and cultural processes of exclusion and inclusion that render some individuals as marginalised, excluded and antisocial.

The seminar series will be used to investigate our contention that the problem of ASPD needs to be understood, not simply in terms of individual psychopathology, but also in terms of a greater systemic understanding of the dynamic interaction between individuals, their families, their neighbourhoods, communities, social institutions and wider cultural processes. A cross disciplinary, inter-professional and inter-agency approach is necessary so that these historical, cultural and social dimensions of the problem can be exposed and debated. A notable example of the relative neglect of this topic comes from the discipline of criminology. Despite the obvious significance of the category to the criminal justice system criminologists have had remarkably little to say on the subject (Jones 2012). This is despite the fact that some of the concerns of the early ‘criminologists’ and penologists (in the 19th century) were precisely with these categories (Rafter 2004).

The objective of the series is to stimulate debate and thought, and to create a network that can investigate and promote cross disciplinary understanding of the problem. In order to achieve this we are proposing a three year series that will build knowledge and the capacity for further cross disciplinary collaboration.

In order to achieve this we are proposing a three year series that addresses, in turn:

1. The History and Construction of the problem of Antisocial Personality Disorder.
2. Cultural and Mediated Representations of Antisocial Personality Disorder.
3. The implications of ‘cross-disciplinary’ and psychosocial models of Anti-social Personality Disorder.