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When and Where
  • 4/27/2023 9:00 AM EDT
  • 4/30/2023 5:00 PM EDT
  • San Diego
  • CA
  • UNITED STATES

Psychological anthropology is rooted in recognition of the social constitution of mind, self and person. Gregory Bateson’s concept of an ecology of mind pointed to ways of thinking about mind as situated in both interpersonal and larger social systems. This ecological perspective provides a shared genealogy and bridge between the concerns of psychological anthropology and contemporary approaches in cognitive science, which see human experience as emerging from embodied, enacted, embedded and extended social processes.

The recognition that human psychology has its own ecology and dynamics that depend on local niches and networks as well as on wider social systems is urgently needed to help us address the most pressing challenges of our time: climate change and ecocide; systemic racism and structural violence; social polarization and the erosion of trust in civil society and democratic institutions; and the colonization of imagination and epistemic chaos created by commercial and political manipulation of social media.

This meeting will explore ecologies of mind in diverse domains and at multiple scales from local communities to planetary networks, from embodied realities to virtual worlds. We invite papers and presentations that engage with the enduring questions of psychological anthropology and current social, political, and existential predicaments. We especially encourage interdisciplinary work that bridges anthropology, psychology, psychiatry, and allied disciplines to explore the dynamics of healthy and pathological ecologies of mind.

The 2023 SPA meeting will include a joint conference day with the Society for the Study of Psychiatry and Culture (SSPC), an interdisciplinary group devoted to clinical issues in culture and mental health. Long awaited by both societies, this day of overlap is aimed at fostering cross-discipline engagement. This joint day will allow SPA members, researchers, and practitioners to discuss cross-cutting interests and the underpinnings and consequences of social experience for mental health, psychiatric disorders, and healing. The overall theme of the SSPC meeting will be “Practices that Harm/Practices that Heal.” For the joint day, we are especially interested in showcasing work in psychological anthropology and cultural psychiatry that addresses issues of healing and transformation.

For more information, please visit the SPA meetings site: https://spa.americananthro.org/