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IAS Talking Points Seminar: Pathologies or Pathologizations?

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IAS Common Ground

Ground Floor, South Wing

UCL, Gower Street

London

WC1E 6BT

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IAS Talking Points Seminar:

Pathologies or Pathologizations? Post-Trafficking Emotional Health Between Anthropology and Health Sciences

We are pleased to welcome our Visiting Research Fellow, Dr Runa Lazzarino for this IAS Talking Points Seminar. Dr Lionel Bailly (UCL Psychoanalysis Unit) and Dr Philippa Hetherington (SSEES) will respond to Dr Lazzarino's paper.

Abstract

In this talk, Dr Runa Lazzarino will explore the issue of the psychological condition of victims of human trafficking (VoTs) combining an anthropological approach with biomedical studies. Her exploration hinges on three interrelated points:

  • The apparent divergence between health sciences and ethnographic studies with respect to VoTs post-trafficking emotional health. While the former have largely demonstrated that VoTs present symptoms of psychological morbidity and need urgent access to psychological care, on the contrary the latter seem to not have dwelled on the matter.
  • The central problem of considering VoTs as a discrete category. While an extensive critical literature has problematised the category of VoTs from different angles, medical studies have turned it into an operational study population, albeit recognising the limits and difficulty in doing so.
  • The different methodologies of the two sets of studies, which makes them at a first sight incompatible.

Dr Lazzarino will attempt to find an explanation as to why medical experimental studies tend to result in the reinforcement of the general perception that VoTs are traumatised subjects in need of psychological support. She will do this by framing them within the human trafficking discourse and more broadly in that of psychological traumatism and victimhood.

She will conclude by trying to open new scenarios in which health sciences and ethnographically-informed studies could be integrated by conducting interdisciplinary mixed-methods research able to produce at the same time grounded quantifiable data and “thick” descriptions of post-trafficking psychological conditions.

Respondent: Dr Lionel Bailly (UCL Psychoanalysis Unit) and Dr Philippa Hetherington (SSEES)

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IAS Common Ground

Ground Floor, South Wing

UCL, Gower Street

London

WC1E 6BT

United Kingdom

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