Lecture by social anthropologist Julia Vorhölter on the rise of psychotherapy in Uganda

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Julia Vorhölter. Publicity photo
Julia Vorhölter. Publicity photo

On Tuesday, October 29, at 18:00 social anthropologist Julia Vorhölter will give a public talk titled "Crazy Times: New [Dis]Orders and the Emergence of Psychotherapy in Uganda". The event will take place in the Baltic Research Centre for East Asian Studies (ASIARES) Reading Room (Level M), National Library of Latvia. Language: English. Free admission.

Julia Vorhölter: "Based on ethnographic fieldwork, my paper traces the rise of psychotherapeutic institutions, actors and discourses in Uganda since the early 2000s. It analyzes why and in which contexts psychotherapy has recently started to proliferate, who can and wants to access it, and how it is related to broader transformations of Ugandan society. I argue that psychotherapy is not only created within, but is also constitutive of changing socio-economic and moral orders, and is inherently linked to the rise and spread of neoliberal capitalism in Uganda after 1986. In Uganda, the diverse ways in which psychotherapy is becoming part of the 'mental health care scape' is indicative of growing class disparities, changing communal relationships and responsibilities, and new modes and ideologies of (self)-governing. These processes furthermore reflect novel understandings and treatments of psycho-social suffering which are also inherently class-specific. My research contributes to studies that show how the rise of psychotherapy across the globe both reflects and constitutes particular socio-economic orders that are characterized by new affective practices and changing ways of belonging."

Julia Vorhölter is a lecturer and post-doctoral researcher at the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology of Göttingen University, Germany. Her research areas include psychological and medical anthropology; dynamics and perceptions of socio-cultural change in Sub-Saharan Africa; neoliberalism and governmentality studies and the anthropology of development. Her most recent work analyses changing discourses on mental health/illness and emerging forms of psychotherapy in Uganda.

The event will take place in the "Narrating the Human" series, co-organized by the Latvian Association of Anthropologists, the National Library of Latvia, and Rīga Stradiņš University.


Contact information:
Ieva Puzo
Latvian Association of Anthropologists
E-mail: latvian.anthropology@gmail.com