P22
Valuing the anthropology of mental health in Australia

Convenors:
Baptiste Brossard (Australian National University)
Discussant:
Julia Brown (Australian National University)
Format:
Panels
Location:
Hancock Library, room 2.24
Sessions:
Wednesday 4 December, 9:00-10:45, 14:00-15:45

Short abstract:

This panel aims to bring together anthropologists interested in mental health, as a prism through which values and norms are enforced and transgressed in societies. Discussions will contribute to the value-making and structuration of the anthropology of mental health in Australia.

Long abstract:

This panel aims to bring together anthropologists interested in mental health. From the works of Margaret Mead to Tanya Luhrmann and João Biehl, there is a recognisable value in the anthropology of mental health to the wider discipline. While European and American anthropology agendas comfortably incorporate the anthropology of mental health, the Australian research and teaching scene in this area is disparate. Mental health can be approached as a prism through which values and norms are enforced and transgressed in societies. Poor mental health is made manifest in multiple ways - for individuals, families, governments and in cultural life. We invite papers on the anthropology of mental health, drawing on both ongoing and previous research projects. Any aspect of mental health-related ethnography is welcome. Ideas include: political/economic/technological influences or kinship/social relations that shape the conditions around mental health and illness; studies on specific mental disorders and/or cross-cultural observations; caregiving; treatments and health systems. Discussions will deal with the particularities of this research field in Australia, including contemporary research trends, methods, ambivalences, hypotheses and relationships between the social sciences (notably between sociology and anthropology) and with other disciplines, such as psychology and medicine. In turn, this panel will contribute to the value-making and structuration of the anthropology of mental health as a critical field of study in Australia.