Migration and mental health

“Dr. Sergei Shubin is developing an understanding of “madness”, as well as its equivalent “mental health”, in relation to migration. Drawing on the series of historical studies of the place of the “mad” and the assumptions about their “wandering” existence (Foucault, 1965), he explores the construction of philosophical and social limits associated with “madness”. By studying the changing practices of classification, he attempts to establish the ways in which migrants step beyond the limits linked to “madness”, which are used as signifiers of their difference and compel them to re-present themselves as outsiders. Migrants’ very existence as “subjects in transit” (Clifford, 1994) is tantamount to “madness”, while the anxiety and fears associated with cross-border movement also contribute to the development of alternative ways of being which gets named as “madness”. 

Being attuned to “madness” in the context of migration therefore implies an analysis of the process of migration which blurs the boundaries between the polarities of certainty and ambiguity, reality and imaginary, temporary and permanent (being hopelessly lost) – a process which can overwhelm migrants and cause a bout of madness. This project develops conceptual discussions about the different ways of being open to “madness” in migration, expressing “madness” and contested migrant identities, as well as learning from disobedient, confusing and unpredictable “mad” voices.”

For further information please contact Sergei Shubin