A cowboy can be defined as “an unscrupulous tradesman” and a pirate can be “a person or organization broadcasting without official authorisation.” Looking through a subversive lens, I see both cowboys and pirates operating within the mental health care professions. Cowboys can be validated, authorized, rewarded, and empowered through the machinery of evidence-based medicine. Pirates may be criticized, restricted, marginalized, or dismissed by the same machinery. Through a layered performance of song and spoken word, I explore some of the personal consequences of all this for those living—and suffering—within differing paradigms of health care.
- mental health
- performance autoethnography