Call for Papers: Psychosocial Perspectives on Migration and Health


Call for Papers: Psychosocial Perspectives on Migration and Health

Department of Psychosocial Studies, Birkbeck, University of London.

1st May 2020

Seminar convenors: Anna Shadrina (Birkbeck) and Ayelen Hamity (IoE-UCL)

Seminar sponsorship: Birkbeck/Wellcome Trust ISSF

This session seeks to provide a psychosocial reflection into migration and health. Migration is traditionally associated with the loss of cultural capital, social networks and professional identities which have to be re-established in a new place, causing feelings of disconnectedness and loneliness, and physical distress. Against the tendency to individualise and depoliticise suffering and distress associated with migration; we explore migration as a collective phenomenon and a constitutive force of our contemporary world.

We set out by interrogating the very foundations from which the category ‘migration’ emerges by challenging the notion of place as static. Places do not exist outside of the histories of human movement which differentiate them. It is by thinking through the transhistorical quality of human movement and its relation to place that we may approach the contemporary paradox of an increasingly interconnected world being met with oftentimes violent attempts at strengthening borders.

From this perspective, the migrant is not conceptualised as an anomaly or an alien, but it is rather place which may be alienating to those who move, those who stay, as well as those who have never thought of leaving. This conceptual provocation does not minimise the psychological and physical distress that may be associated with human movement, but it does de-pathologize ‘the migrant’ and forces us to think politically and empathetically about the distinctive psychosocial experiences associated with migration.

The seminar will address migration from a range of perspectives as a desirable and undesirable experience, and how it intersects with gender, race, class, age and health. The session seeks to think about migration and health as both the experiences that disconnect from others and can serve as a source for solidarity and social change. We welcome (but not exclusively) submissions that explore:

• Migration and mental health as an issue of social inequality;

•  Notions about ‘the responsible patient’ and how/whether they change as people move;

• ‘Moral panics’ and ‘new’ diseases associated with human movement;

•  Medical tourism.

Please send 250-word abstracts to the convenors Anna Shadrina (a.shadryna@bbk.ac.uk) and Ayelen Hamity (ayelenhamity@gmail.com) by Friday 27th Match 2020. 

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