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‘Mad’ knowledge in the global south: Responses to local and global hegemoni...

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University of Edinburgh

G.05

50 George Square

Edinburgh

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The Edinburgh Global Mental Health Network with support from Edinburgh Centre for Medical Anthropology, School of Social and Political Sciences is pleasesd to welcome Dr Jayasree Kalathil. Jayasree will be speaking on movements of mental health service user/survivor and persons with psychosocial disabilities in the global south, drawing on her current research.

Abstract

What does tourism in Rwanda have to do with destabilising mad knowledge? Or the idea of ‘tôjisha’ (‘people or parties directly involved’) in Japan? Or a ‘chellimi’ (‘sisterhood’) in southern India? In the global north, especially in countries such as the UK, the US, Canada and Australia, user/survivor-led research and, more recently, Mad Studies, have an important history of destabilising the construction and consolidation of knowledge about madness and mental health. Much of these theories, methodologies and philosophies have emerged from the political movements challenging and countering the supremacy of psy-disciplines in defining and managing madness and distress. There is a similar history in some parts of the global south, especially in countries where the legacy of colonial psychiatry and psychology still influence policy and practice, including new agendas set by the global mental health movement. In other countries where the presence and influence of psychiatry and allied disciplines are tenuous or non-existent, the constructs of ‘user-survivor knowledge’ or ‘mad theory’ do not fully capture forms of mad counterculture and knowledge production. The seminar will explore ways in which community advocacy and activism and the formation of new collective political identities in the global south reconstruct and resist local hegemonic narratives of ‘mental illness’ as well as the modernising developmental narratives of global mental health.

Biography

Dr Jayasree Kalathil is an independent researcher, writer and psychiatric survivor activist, and runs the virtual collective, Survivor Research [Link: www.survivor-research.com]. Her work focuses on making the experiences, activism and advocacy of mental health service users/survivors from racialised groups an important and integral part of the knowledge about mental health and madness and the policies and practices within mental health services. Her research focuses on the intersections between ‘race’, racialisation, gender, culture and mental health. She was one of the coordinators of the Inquiry into the Schizophrenia Label [Link: www.schizophreniainquiry.org] and a manager of Catch-a-Fiya, the national network of black and minority ethnic mental health service users and survivors. Currently, she is involved in an international project aiming to map the global history of user-led research, advocacy and activism, based at the Service User Research Enterprise at King’s College, London. Jayasree’s publications include: Dancing to our own tunes: Re-assessing black and minority ethnic mental health service user involvement (2008/2011) [Link: https://www.nsun.org.uk/Handlers/Download.ashx?IDMF=3633e9a0-8a27-43d2-8a25-f8b1fc190071], Recovery and resilience: African, Caribbean and South Asian women’s narratives of recovering from mental distress (2011) [Link: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/sites/default/files/recovery_and_resilience.pdf] and the co-authored book Values and ethics in mental health (2015).

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University of Edinburgh

G.05

50 George Square

Edinburgh

United Kingdom

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