Mad hats. A reflection on mad leadership

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Chris Maylea


This paper considers the problem of how Mad leaders might be authentic without resorting to discriminatory identity policing. The paper briefly charts the contemporary role of consumer/survivor/ex-patient/mad activism in mental health reform before drawing on the author’s failed attempt to grapple with authentic mad leadership. Drawing on Mad Studies theory and the wisdom of Lewis Carroll’s Mad Hatter, the author argues that the consumer/survivor/ex-patient/mad movement should welcome all experiences of madness, but only those who can exercise authentic leadership should lead the movement. This requires resistance against non-Mad ways of knowing and exercising power and for established power hierarchies to transform to allow authentic mad leadership.

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How to Cite
Maylea, C. (2022). Mad hats. A reflection on mad leadership. International Mad Studies Journal, 1(1), e1–9.
IMSJ Vol. 1 No. 1 January 2023