Psychology, neoliberalism and changing subjectivities in Southern and Eastern Africa

Recent scholarship on the ‘postcolonial subject’ in Africa and beyond posits a link between neoliberalism and the evolution of new subjectivities. This project aims to interrogate and complicate this analysis in relation to Southern and Eastern Africa. In recent years there has been a marked adoption of psychological counselling techniques and languages in the region. These ‘techniques of the self’ seem to have some specific genealogies and trajectories. One of these connects them to the HIV/AIDS epidemic and responses to it; another, particularly in Eastern Africa, is linked to the ‘trauma’ of political conflict, and a third strand is related to the influence of new religious movements. This project investigates these strands and aims to connect the recent history of changing subjectivities to the longer history of psychology in Africa, and to the ‘global mental health movement’.

Project leader(s):
  • Meghan Vaughan (Cambridge)

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