Myself, Laurent Mavinga and Moise Bashiga have a new paper out in Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography. It draws on the work that we've been doing on global mental health and trauma, bringing in some new insights from DRC where trauma has historically been investigated in very 'bracketed' ways. We tried to 'unbracket' trauma through an engagement with ideas of multiplicity and ontological politics, with and beyond Annemarie Mol's work.
It's been quite a journey to get it to print. We completed the first draft of this just before my daughter was born nearly five years ago!
Here's the abstract:
As international health organizations have increasingly acknowledged the global burden of psychological trauma, global health experts have sought to appraise and organize the treatment of trauma through objective, neutral forms of classification and calculation. Rather than see trauma as a singular thing whose biological, social and psychological formation is bracketed by expert perspectives, this paper focuses on how psychological trauma is enacted—that is, brought into being and sustained—in particular contexts and practices. If trauma can be made and unmade in practices, rather than assumed to be a stable thing, then these practices become a matter of concern rather than fact for geographers. We take as our empirical focus the province of North Kivu in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, where trauma has become a matter of growing local, national and international concern. Working with and beyond the conceptual work of Annemarie Mol, we demonstrate how different ‘versions’ of trauma uneasily co-exist in the region. Interrogating these versions, we explore the tensions that arise from attempting to explain and summate the incidence of trauma that is not singular or stable but is, instead, emergent and enacted in a variety of practices.
The paper is here, and it is open-access thanks to QMUL's agreement with Wiley.