April 20, 2016

Uneasy Markings: Thinking Through/Around Mental Health Stigma

Peter Soles Muirhead

Anti-stigma campaigns, movements, and research studies are visible throughout urban life–inescapable on the internet or on one’s commute. They appear with increasing frequency in the policies and initiatives of corporations and public institutions alike. In a critical medical anthropological take on the topic, this talk will recognize the lived experiences–and the increasingly public (and publicity-bearing) concept–of mental health stigma. How does the idea of stigma circulate in politics, advertising, and bureaucracy, and what unique power–to improve health or otherwise–does it hold in the present political economy?  Above all, what does this image of stigma obscure, and what space does it leave for the divergent voices and experiences of psychiatric consumer/survivors?

About the Presenter


Peter Soles Muirhead (HBA, Simon Fraser) is a second-year medical and sociocultural anthropology MSc student at the University of Toronto, supervised by Dr. Katie Kilroy-Marac. His SSHRC-funded ethnographic and archival work in Canada concerns mental health, emotional labour, inequality, the history of psychiatry, everyday ethics, and the intimate politics of subjective transitions.  Peter’s PhD—also at U of T—will focus on similar issues in Northwestern Turkey.  Outside of the university, he has worked as a consulting medical anthropologist in hospital and healthcare design settings. Peter’s lecture is a critical examination of how stigma (as a concept) is imagined and deployed in public mental health interventions and campaigns.


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