“Descending with Angels: Islamic Exorcism and Psychiatry. A Film Monograph” by Christian Suhr

"Descending with Angels: Islamic Exorcism and Psychiatry. A Film Monograph" by Christian Suhr

"This book and film provide an account of the invisible dynamics of possession and psychosis, and of how the bodies and souls of Muslim patients are shaped by the conflicting demands of Islam and the psychiatric institutions of European nation-states.

Over several years, Christian Suhr followed Muslim patients being treated in a Danish mosque and in a psychiatric hospital. His analysis reveals how both psychiatric and Islamic healing work not only to produce relief from pain, but also entail an ethical transformation of the patient and the cultivation of religious and secular values through the experience of pain.

Creatively exploring the analytic possibilities provided by the use of a camera, both the book and film show how disruptive ritual techniques are used in healing to destabilise individual perceptions and experiences of agency, so as to allow patients to submit to the invisible powers of psychotropic medicine or God.

Descending with Angels addresses several timely topics — Islam in the West, mental health, intercultural cohabitation — and provides new theoretical perspectives on the agency of the invisible in human life. It will be of particular interest to scholars and students of anthropology, psychiatry, film and media studies, and the study of religion and Islam."