Prospects and Futures of Psychological Anthropology – Call for abstracts (Ethos)

Ethos Special Section (Virtual Special Edition):
Prospects and Futures of Psychological Anthropology
Guest editors: Thomas Stodulka, Anni Kajanus & Suzana Jovicic

Call for abstracts

Over the last fifty years, Psychological Anthropology has thrived in US anthropology, but it seems to have been relegated to the margins of Social and Cultural Anthropologies in many other academic landscapes across the globe. There are various reasons for this, ranging from skeptical ‘anti-psychologizing’ disciplinary ethos, the role of psychological anthropologists in nationalist and war-related agendas of the 20th century, or a lack of postcolonial and decolonial theory and practice, to the decline of interdisciplinary collaboration due to anthropology’s turn to particularism or psychology’s quantitative and experimental turn. 

This Special Section takes the recent emergence of psychological anthropologies across the globe as an opportunity to reflect on current debates and future prospects. It invites anthropologists around the globe to reflect on their scholarship and academic landscapes regarding the interplay between anthropology, psychology, and related disciplines. We encourage authors to express their concerns and constructive critiques of current research or teaching infrastructures and set forth their ideas and imaginations for future psychological anthropologies.

The Special Section invites contributions on methodological, theoretical, and conceptual innovations and reflections on the future potential of global psychological anthropologies that are increasingly concerned with power asymmetries, critical epistemologies, and the effects of universalizing “Western” psychologies. In the face of growing human and non-human interconnectedness, contemporary psychological anthropology fosters important insights into new forms of inequality, violence, and human subjectivity. The assumption that psychological and bio-psychiatric “insights” are to be imposed on human experience and behavior is itself open to question, creating new tensions between universalizing and relativizing understandings of the human condition that psychological anthropology is uniquely positioned to address. A significant line of work in psychological anthropology has broadly rejected the universalizing tendencies of psychological discourse, preferring to illuminate historically and socio-culturally situated concepts of self, personhood and what it means to be human. Other strands of research, including those on culture and cognition, neurosciences, and evolutionary perspectives, have engaged in debates about culturally grounded human development, adding to a multifaceted understanding of historically embedded and embodied minds.  

In addition to exploring such diverse currents within the subdiscipline itself, the Special Section highlights psychological anthropologists’ perspectives on diversifying and decolonizing research methods, infrastructures, and curricula. Such self-reflexive and collaborative lenses seem paramount as they challenge hegemonic key assumptions on feeling, thinking, interacting, or learning. After all, the ways we, as researchers and persons, think, feel, and do research, remain deeply entangled with our own research infrastructures, methods and academic curricula of training and teaching. Hence, we encourage researchers and practitioners to scrutinize, relativize and contextualize their critique by provincializing their training, research, and teaching thereby bringing marginalized viewpoints to the global stage. 

The Special Section encourages authors to think of their articles not just, or even primarily, as critiques, but rather as constructive attempts to define and propose alternative streams in psychological anthropology. We expect authors to engage in generous reading of colleagues and a style of intellectual engagement that abstains from scoring points on colleagues through selective quotation, or ungenerous critique. What we are interested in are well-articulated proposals for ways to do research, analyze results, and theorize about society, culture, the psyche, the “mind,” and related core concepts.We discourage nationally-based surveys of the history of psychological anthropology, but we welcome discussions of frameworks or concepts of neglected thinkers or thought collectives by showing the contemporary relevance of their work. 

Organization

The first section comprises selected contributions that resonate with current critiques and future imaginations of psychological anthropology. We are open to the possibility of continuing the special section as an ongoing virtual special edition that offers the opportunity to expand and redress ongoing topics or relate to this inaugural issue through brief commentaries.  

Timeline

  • We invite you to submit a preliminary title and an abstract of 300 words by 10 June 2022 for the special section’s first issue. We will get back to you with feedback on 25 June 2022.
  • In case of selection for the first issue: first draft submission to us (no more than 10,000 words including references) by 30 October 2022. We will get back to you with feedback by 30 November 2022.
  • Full article submission to Ethos is expected by 01 February 2023. All the usual rules for the journal pertain to the submission (including double-blind peer review): https://anthrosource.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/hub/journal/15481352/about/author-guidelines

Please send your abstracts to either Thomas Stodulka (thomas.stodulka(at)fu-berlin.de), Anni Kajanus (anni.kajanus(at)helsinki.fi), or Suzana Jovicic (suzana.jovicic(at)univie.ac.at).

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