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The social life of psychiatric practice: Trauma in post-war Kosova

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)266-282
Number of pages16
JournalMedical Anthropology
Issue number3

King's Authors


This article traces the social life of psychiatric practice in the context of war and postwar societies. It is argued that although psychiatric knowledge and practice is situated and grounded in particular cultural, social, and political contexts, it is important to examine how transnational networks situate local systems of meaning in much larger settings. I illustrate this claim by examining discourses and observations concerning health-seeking behaviors of Kosovar Albanian women and ways in which Kosovar health practitioners help them by employing, adapting, and changing the psychiatric tools and lessons learned during (trauma) training provided by international health professionals during the Yugoslav war and postwar eras. Thereby, I hope to contribute to a better understanding of how local health beliefs and practices are nested in the processes involved in international health policymaking and, thereby, relate to higher level structures such as international political economy, regional history, and development ideology.

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