Cowboys and pirates in mental health care: a musical autoethnography

David Carless*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)175-177
Number of pages3
JournalCultural Studies ↔ Critical Methodologies
Issue number2
Early online date4 Nov 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • mental health
  • performance autoethnography
  • recovery
  • song
  • trauma


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