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Psychology defines people who take pleasure in the suffering of others as having a form of mental illness, while media representations frame such behaviour as ‘evil’. This is hotly contested territory, not least where sexual violence is concerned – violence which feminist voices argue is related to power rather than sex.


Perverse Psychology examines psychiatric constructions of sexual violence and transgenderism from the 19th century until the latest DSM-5 diagnoses. It uses discourse analysis to interrogate the discursive boundaries between 'normal' and 'abnormal' rape, as well as the pathologization of gender and sexual diversity. The book illuminates for the first time the parallels between psychiatry’s construction of gender diversity and sexual violence, and leads us to question whether it is violence that the profession finds so intriguing, or the gender nonconformity it represents.


Perverse Psychology is ideal reading for postgraduate students and researchers in the fields of critical psychology, discourse analysis, feminism, transgenderism, LGBT psychology, and the history of psychiatry.

Perverse Psychology (Paperback)

  • "Highly original, closely argued, and ingenious analysis." Professor Erica Burman, University of Manchester


    "...a captivating critique of the disciplines of psychology and psychiatry." Shari Fitzgerald, Memorial University


    "At last, a book that speaks about the unspoken. Well written, well referenced - a highly stimulating read." Kirsten Nokling, The Psychologist


    "Well written, insightful, interesting, informative, and an excellent resource." Joan Strutton, PsycCRITIQUES


    "Invigorating and provocative" Pierre Brouard, University of Pretoria


    "A very important book about how modern psychology has been used to invalidate and suppress sex and gender diversity." Jack Molay, Crossdreamers


    Shortlisted for the British Psychological Society Book Awards 2016