P33
Constructing diagnosis in 'mental health': the negotiation of categories, the encounter of subjectivities in South Asia

Convenors:
Serena Bindi (Paris Descartes University)
Sumeet Jain (University of Edinburgh)
Location:
44H05
Start time:
26 July, 2014 at 9:00
Session slots:
2

Short abstract:

This panel addresses the processes of negotiating diagnosis in the context of 'global mental health' discourses in South Asia and the relationship with subjectivity. We invite papers dealing with the ways in which subjectivities are expressed and shaped in the process of diagnosis negotiation.

Long abstract:

This panel seeks to analyze the relationship between subjectivity and the processes of negotiating diagnosis in the context of 'global mental health' (GMH) discourses in South Asia. Anthropological literature has questioned how modes of subjectivity in diverse places are shaped by everyday forms of experience (Biehl et al, 2007; Del Vecchio et al, 2008). The process of negotiating diagnosis in healing encounters can be seen as connected to the experience of the subjects - both healers and patients. The GMH agenda has dominated discussions of mental health in low income countries. A central 'technology' of 'GMH'' interventions are international diagnostic systems. These provide standardized and universal categories of psychiatric morbidity. This approach to addressing suffering raises questions about the ways in which diagnoses are negotiated, in a setting, as the South Asian one, where healing traditions are pluralistic in nature. We welcome papers that deal with healing encounters in the field of 'mental health', offering critical reflection upon the ways in which patients and/or practitioners subjectivities are expressed and shaped in the process of diagnosis production. Some questions we wish to consider include: What takes place in these encounters? In what ways do shadows of the 'global' and subjectivities of the 'local' shape these interactions? How does accepting/refusing/discussing a diagnosis relate to and affect experiences and understandings of selfhood and subjectivity?