Deadline Extension to 8/3: Ethnographic Perspectives on Global Mental Health

Just received this notice via McGill’s listserv. See also Somatosphere’s excellent summary of McGill’s Global Mental Health workshop and conference (Global Mental Health and Its Discontents) by Dörte Bemme and Nicole D’Souza.

We invite paper submissions for a panel titled: Ethnographic perspectives on
‘global mental health’ at The 17th World Congress of the International Union
of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences (IUAES), University of
Manchester, UK, 5-10 August 2013.

Deadline: August 3rd, 2012

Panel LD36: Ethnographic perspectives on ‘global mental health’


Sumeet Jain (University of Edinburgh), Email:
David Orr (University of Sussex), Email:

Short Abstract

The ‘global mental health’ (GMH) agenda has attained considerable policy
influence. However, debates continue about its universal validity. This
panel takes an ethnographic approach to how GMH-informed interventions
respond in practice to disparate manifestations of mental distress.

Long Abstract

This panel takes an ethnographic approach to investigating how interventions
informed by the ‘global mental health’ (GMH) movement respond in practice to
disparate manifestations of mental distress. The GMH agenda now dominates
academic and policy discussions of mental health in low and middle income
countries. Its rise can be traced to specific developments in the 1990s that
shaped how the ‘disability burden’ of mental health disorders came to be
measured, and a series of policy and research reports on mental health which
afforded direction and impetus to efforts to push mental health up the list
of governmental priorities. Today the GMH agenda is backed by the World
Health Organisation and has played its part in the continuing worldwide
spread of psychiatry’s reach. Yet social scientists and psychiatrists have
questioned how ‘globally’ valid some of its concepts and assumptions prove
in framing and acting on experiences of mental distress in diverse contexts
and social configurations. This panel invites papers that draw on
anthropological theory and ethnographic data to comment on, add to, or
critique the evidence base for claims on both sides, and consider how these
discourses are formed and re-formed on the ground. High on the list of
questions we seek to address are:

How are GMH policies deployed in diverse locales?

What are the effects of these policies on local populations?

How is this agenda re-shaping clinical and non-clinical settings?

How do GMH discourses transform the interaction between patient and health

How does this approach mould health-seeking behaviours?

Please note that the deadline for paper proposals is August 3rd, 2012.
Proposals should be submitted by August 3rd, 2012 through the ‘Propose a
paper’ link on the following page :

If you require further information, do not hesitate to contact either of us.

Best wishes,

Sumeet Jain & David Orr


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