The Program on Refugees, Forced Displacement, and Humanitarian Responses: Graduate Students Presentations. Hilary Matfess, Political Science: “New Methods of Discussing Gender Norm Change and Sensitive Subjects: A Case Study of Body Map Panels with South Sudanese refugees” & Erik Kramer, Medicine, Yale Univeristy: “Instrumentalizing Mental Health in Jordan: International Aid, Practitioners, and the Syrian Refugee”.
2nd talk abstract:
How does the interweaving of transnational, national, and local actors’ interests in the edifice of mental health shape diagnostication, migration, and identity for Syrians living in Jordan? The Jordanian national mental health system was largely constructed and underwritten by international organizations and foreign governments in response to influxes of Iraqi—and later on—Syrian refugees. This natural history has evoked complex networks of tensions which manifest in certain externalities: pressures for over-diagnosis, rationalization of the profession of psychiatry, and refugee migration. This talk will explore some initial findings from qualitative research in Jordan on how these “frictions” are co-constructing new social forms at an institutional, community, and individual levels. The focus will be situated between a critique of “global mental health” as a neocolonial practice, and an emancipatory research paradigm which seeks to recognize and appropriately address psychic suffering in refugees.