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Shrinking the Planet: Ethnographic explorations of psychotherapy, transformation of identities and the new global middle class. [European Network for Psychological Anthropology (ENPA)] 
Keir Martin (University of Oslo)
Inga-Britt Krause (Tavistock Clinic)
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Peter Froggatt Centre (PFC), 0G/024
Friday 29 July, -
Time zone: Europe/London

Short Abstract:

The panel invites ethnographic exploration of the role of psychotherapy in the transformation of individual and collective identities globally. In particular we invite reflection on the hopes and fears expressed by participants and others that psychotherapy might produce wider social transformation.

Long Abstract:

The growth of new middle-class populations across the non-Western world marks not only a historically unprecedented shift in global economic and cultural power but a potential major transformation in subjectivity and cultural identity for millions of people. The exponential growth of interest in psychotherapy in countries such as India, China and Russia in recent years is a major marker of this transformation. This is a phenomenon that provokes much heated public debate, with many expressing a fear that it marks the growth of a socially destructive 'Western individualism'. For others this development holds out the hope of the development of less constraining forms of subjectivity and overcoming histories of familial or cultural trauma. Whilst much work has been done on other aspects of new middle-class cultural consumption in contexts such as entertainment or tourism, psychotherapy with its more explicit self-reflection upon the kind of person that the process is intended to produce, remains relatively unexplored ethnographically.

We invite paper proposals based upon both ethnographic research and theoretical reflections on psychotherapy as a practice from the standpoint of anthropological theory.

Questions that can be addressed include, but are not limited to;

• What new forms of subjectivity and identity does psychotherapy enable in different national and cultural contexts?

• How are concepts such as 'class' or 'culture' mobilised emically among therapists and clients to shape these processes in practice?

• How can we ethnographically document and analyse the changing nature of psychotherapy in new political and cultural contexts?

Accepted papers:

Session 1 Friday 29 July, 2022, -