Madness and Mental Health: 2023-4

Rethinking Disenchantment and the Immanent Frame in Mental Health

This lecture in the series Madness and Mental Health is presented by Camillia Kong

What is mental health? Can we make sense of psychosis? What’s the connection between mental health and concepts including race & evolution? Explore these questions, among others, through the lens of philosophy at the 2023/4 London Lectures.

Rethinking Disenchantment and the Immanent Frame in Mental Health and Disability

Why is it so tempting to understand spirituality / religion as counter to our conception of mental health, both in terms of its causality and its therapeutic restoration? My talk seeks to provide a philosophical diagnosis of the problem through Taylor’s discussion of the ‘immanent frame’ in Western modernity, and in so doing, provide the conceptual space for enriching understanding of divergent explanatory frameworks of mental disorder and cognitive disability in other sociocultural contexts. Through the case study of the ‘spirit child’ phenomenon in Northern Ghana, I suggest that challenging the ‘immanent frame’ in mental health and disability is critical to repositioning the role of spirituality and alternative conceptualisations vis-à-vis the medical model.

  • About the speaker

    Camillia is a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Law and Fellow of the Institute of Humanities and
    Social Sciences at Queen Mary University of London. Previously she was the Principal Investigator of
    the AHRC-funded Judging Values and Participation in Mental Capacity Law Project. Camillia has research expertise on medico-legal conceptualisation of mental capacity, the ethics of psychiatry and psychiatric genomics, and the hermeneutics and phenomenology of mental disorder. She has particular interest in intersections between Western and African normative thought and practice in approaches to mental disorder and intellectual disability. Other areas of Camillia’s work explore how relational and gender contexts impact the development of selfhood and mental disorder and conceptions of intellectual disability, and how these contexts intersect with the construction of legal agency.