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The city/psychosis nexus beyond epidemiology and social constructivism

15 October, 2019 @ 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm SAST

Visiting scholar Ola Söderström from University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland presents a lecture entitled: The city/psychosis nexus beyond epidemiology and social constructivism on Tuesday, 15 October from 12:30 to 14:00.

My talk draws on a recently completed interdisciplinary research project involving geographers, psychiatrists and linguists in the study of the relations between urban living and psychosis. Our research originates in the now long-standing observation that there is a higher prevalence of cases of psychosis in dense urban areas. Particularly interesting in the context of this talk and discussion at the ACC is that recent epidemiological studies point to the fact that this phenomenon is generally not observed in cities of the Global South. What was for long described as a universal relation between mental health and urbanism has now been provincialized.

My aim will be first to explain why the question of the city/psychosis nexus has recently come to the fore not only in epidemiological research in psychiatry but also in the more-than-constructivist approaches of scholars trying to identify and practice new alliances between the life and the social sciences. Second, I will walk you through two moments – an epistemic and an ontological one – in our research process to describe how we explored such new alliances by co-designing and co-experimenting across disciplines. Thirdly, I will discuss our research findings and how they emerged from methodological triangulations. I will conclude by evoking present developments of this interdisciplinary process and how they relate to contemporary discussions on the study of bio-social entanglements.

Ola Söderström is professor of social and cultural geography at the University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland. His work draws on science and technology studies, postcolonial urban studies and visual studies. His research has notably analysed the role of visual representations in urban planning, urban policy mobilities in cities of the Global South, smart urbanism, and the relations between urban living and psychosis. His books and edited collections include: Des images pour agir. Le visuel en urbanisme, Payot, 2000; Cities in Relations. Trajectories of Urban Development in Hanoi and Ouagadougou, Wiley-Blackwell, 2014; Reshaping Cities. How Global Mobility Transforms Architecture and Urban Forms, Routledge, 2009 (co-edited with Michael Guggenheim); Critical Mobilities, Routledge, 2013 (co-edited with Shalini Randeria, Didier Ruedin, Gianni D’Amato and Francesco Panese).

WHEN: Tuesday, 15 October 2019

TIME: 12:30 to 14:00

VENUE: Davies Reading Room, Environmental and Geographical Science Building, Upper Campus, UCT


15 October, 2019
12:30 pm - 2:00 pm SAST
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Davies Reading Room
Room 2.27, Environmental and Geographical Science, UCT
Cape Town, Western Cape 8000 South Africa
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