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    The hermeneutics of recovery: facilitating dialogue between African and Western mental health frameworks

    Kong, Camillia and Campbell, M. and Kpobi, L. and Swartz, L. and Atuire, C. (2023) The hermeneutics of recovery: facilitating dialogue between African and Western mental health frameworks. Transcultural Psychiatry 60 (3), pp. 428-442. ISSN 1363-4615.

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    Abstract: The widespread use of faith-based and traditional healing for mental disorders within African contexts is well known. However, normative responses tend to fall within two camps: on one hand, those oriented towards Western psychiatry stress the abuses and superstition of such healing, whilst, critics adopting a more ‘local’ perspective have fundamentally challenged the universalist claims of Western diagnostic categories and psychiatric treatments. What seemingly emerges is a dichotomy between those who endorse more ‘universalist’ or ‘relativist’ approaches as an analytical lens to the challenges of the diverse healing strands within African contexts. In this paper we draw upon the resources of philosophy and existing empirical work to challenge the notion that constructive dialogue cannot be had between seemingly incommensurable healing practices in global mental health. First, we suggest the need for much needed conceptual clarity to explore the hermeneutics of meaning, practice, and understanding, in order to forge constructive normative pathways of dialogue between seemingly incommensurable values and conceptual schemas around mental disorder and healing. Second, we contextualise the complex motives to emphasise difference amongst health practitioners within a competitive healing economy. Finally, we appeal to the notion of recovery as discovery as a fruitful conceptual framework which incorporates dialogue, comparative evaluation, and cross-cultural enrichment across divergent conceptualisations of mental health.


    Item Type: Article
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences
    Research Centres and Institutes: Crime & Justice Policy Research, Institute for
    Depositing User: Camillia Kong
    Date Deposited: 08 Oct 2020 15:19
    Last Modified: 26 Oct 2023 18:12


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