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Psychiatric Research Among the Iban: Collected Papers of Robert J. Barrett, M.B.B.S. Ph.D.

Borneo Research Council Monograph Series Volume 13


Edited by

Anna Chur-Hansen, Ph.D.


George N. Appell, Ph.D.

Price $55.00

ISBN 1-929900-14-7



In his obituary, published in the Adelaiadean, Robert J. Barrett (1949-2007) was described as a remarkable and gifted clinician and scholar, as a gifted teacher and as a wise mentor. But, it was his unique training as both a clinical psychiatrist and a social anthropologist that allowed Barrett to undertake his groundbreaking research of the ethnopsychology, and psychiatric illnesses, of the Iban of the Saribas region of Sarawak, Malaysia.

In this seminal volume Chur-Hansen and Appell have brought together the collected works of Barrett. These works range from Barrett’s own reflections on his cultural roots to his discussions of Iban ethnopsychology and psychiatric illness to reflections on the ethical issues of conducting cross-cultural research. Scholars of Borneo and of ethnopsychology will find this volume to be essential to their research.



Foreward - Mitra Guha

Preface - Anna Chur-Hansen

Introduction - Cliff Sather

Part One: Rob’s Life

     Chapter 1: "A Passionate Love: The Contributions of the late Professor Robert John Barrett:   Anna Chur-Hansen

     Chapter 2: Self Description/Cultural Roots   Robert J. Barrett

     Chapter 3: Bibliography - Robert J. Barrett   Robert J. Barrett

Part Two: Iban Studies

     Chapter 4: Performance, Effectiveness and the Iban Manang   Robert J. Barrett

     Chapter 5: Hot and Cold in Transformation: Is Iban Medicine Humoral?   Robert J. Barrett and Rodney H. Lucas

     Chapter 6: The Skulls are Cold, the House is Hot: Interpreting Depths of Meaning in Iban Therapy   Robert J. Barrett and Rodney H. Lucas

     Chapter 7: Iban Ethnopsychology   Robert J. Barrett

Part Three: Iban Mental Health and Illness

     Chapter 8: Psychiatric Illness among the Iban Population in the Second Division of Sarawak               Robert J. Barrett

     Chapter 9: Cultural Formation of Psychiatric Diagnosis: Sakit Gila in an Iban Longhouse: Chronic Schizophrenia   Robert J. Barrett

     Chapter 10: A Genetic Study of the Iban of Sarawak: Investigating an Isolated Gene Poole               Bryan Mowry, Robert J. Barrett and Derek Nancarrow

     Chapter 11: Journey into Madness: Cultural Themes and Psychotic Illness in Former Headhunting Peoples   Robert J. Barrett

     Chapter 12: Kurt Schneider in Borneo: Do First Rank Symptoms Apply to the Iban?   Robert J. Barrett

     Chapter 13: Space, Repetition, and Collective Interlocution: Psychiatric Interviews in a Borneo Longhouse   Robert J. Barrett

     Chapter 14: Rates of Treated Schizophrenia and its Clinical and Cultural Features in the Population Isolate of the Iban of Sarawak: A Tri-diagnostic Approach   Robert J. Barrett, Peter Loa, Edward Jerah, Derek Nancarrow, David Chant, Bryan Mowry

     Chapter 15: Hot and Cold Emotions: An Analysis of Iban Symptoms   Robert J. Barrett

     Chapter 16: Case of Bakit Anak Barat   Robert J. Barrett

Part Four: Schizophrenia in Cross-Cultural Perspective

     Chapter 17: Scientific Metaphors for Psychiatric Illness: The Influence of Cultural Imagery on Schizophrenia Research   Robert J. Barrett

     Chapter 18: Mental Illness in Sarawak and Australia: A Cross-cultural Comparison   Robert J. Barrett

     Chapter 19: Environment, Culture and Schizophrenia   Robert J. Barrett

Part Five: Cross-Cultural Research in Mental Health

     Chapter 20: Interpreting Culture and Psychopathology: Primitivist Themes in Cross-cultural Debate   Rodney H. Lucas and Robert J. Barrett

     Chapter 21: Collective Danger and Individual Risk: Cultural Perspectives on the Hazards of Medical Research   Damon B. Parker and Robert J. Barrett

     Chapter 22: Rites of Consent: Negotiating Research Participation in Diverse Cultures   Robert J. Barrett and Damon B. Parker

     Chapter 23: Ethical Issues in Cross-cultural Research   Robert J. Barrett


     Chapter 24: Rob’s Eulogy   Anna Chur-Hansen

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