Psychology and Anthropology in a Changing World: Reflections on ENPA 2023

In this post, we report some of the conference highlights and share reflections on the experience from several participants and organisers.

The second biennial ENPA conference ‘Psychology and Anthropology in a Changing World‘ was hosted in hybrid form by the University of Oslo from 7-9 June 2023. In total, 217 people registered from across the world and 89 of these attended in person. 113 papers were presented across 28 highly varied sessions, which included 26 wonderful panels as well as a round-table discussion and a selection of innovative ethnographic films. Q&A sessions accompanied the parallel sessions and were particularly lively following the fascinating keynote speeches from two eminent scholars in psychological anthropology, Assitant Professor Susanne BregnbĂŚk and Professor Tanya Marie Luhrmann. The discussions continued over delicious buffet lunches and long into each evening as we made the most of Oslo’s midnight sun.

Relaxing on Huk strand after a busy conference day

“As perhaps the only psychologist in attendance at ENPA, I learned a lot about how anthropologists work and talk about their work, and enjoyed several conversations with scholars, senior and junior, that helped inform my own research. But, above all, I was blown away by the welcoming and friendly atmosphere of the conference. Everybody seemed interested in talking to everyone else, whatever their discipline or academic rank. Perhaps anthropologists really are made of a different clay: unlike some other academics, they simply like being with other people 🙂 I will gladly come again to a future ENPA, and would definitely encourage more psychologists to do the same!” Michal Miaskiewicz, Harvard University

Eighteen lucky scholars were able to ease comfortably into conference mode by attending the one-day Writing (Co-)Lab pre-conference workshop for graduate students and early career scholars on the 6th June, which was organised by the ENPA Junior Scholars Network and Works in Progress Seminars teams. Participants praised the way that the pre-conference workshop gave them the chance to meet colleagues and share experiences (and works-in-progress) with other early-career scholars in a supportive and confidence-boosting space.

All smiles at the pre-conference workshop

“My highlight was the pre-conference workshop. It felt inspiring and supportive to be in a room with psychological anthropologists from across the world and we certainly learnt so much from sharing our writings and fieldwork experiences. A special thank you to Nadia, Mona and Mayssa for expertly organising and facilitating this space. I was blown away by the warmth of the junior scholars community and look forward to encountering these academically exceptional and friendly faces again :)” Kiara Wickremasinghe, SOAS

Spaces for promoting and discussing researcher connections and well-being were also included in the main conference in the form of a Junior Scholars mixer and a mental health workshop – aimed at early career researchers but open to all.

“I found the ENPA conference to be the most joyful, stimulating, and intense (in a good way) conference I have been to! And yes, I know I may be biased as an ENPA board member, but I was so humbled by the openness of colleagues to discussions, collaborative reflections, constructive feedback, and connections. Starting from the pre-conference workshop, to the panel sessions, plenaries, and all informal times in the campus garden, nearby cafe, or by the astonishing beach in Bygdoy, the vibe was the one I always wished for in academic gathering, one of true interest, curiosity, solidarity, and care. Looking forward to the upcoming ENPA gatherings!” Mayssa Rekhis, Gothenburg University

In-person attendees on the final day of the conference

The network continues to grow and diversify, and the ENPA Board Meeting hosted at the conference gave participants and board members the opportunity to brainstorm ideas and initiatives for the future together. Ideas ranged from co-hosting workshops or conferences with psychologists to organising special issues, creating a new journal and podcast series, hosting a bulletin board on the website, and sharing educational materials for psychological anthropology – we’re excited to see what the future holds for ENPA! We’ll end with some words from the wonderful Oslo-based organisation committee:

“Thank you all for being part of this remarkable conference. During the days of the conference, we all witnessed engaging discussions and meaningful connections. For the Department of Social Anthropology, it was a true privilege to host such a knowledgeable group of scholars and to see how vibrant psychological anthropology is. We would like to express our deepest gratitude to the speakers and guests; the organizing committee’s members who displayed unwavering commitment as they actively engaged in the meticulous online preparation (Lavinia Ţânculescu-Popa, Anni Kajanus, Sean Dowdy); the people who curated the timetable and demonstrated an extraordinary level of expertise in proficiently managing the scheduling process (Mayssa Rekhis and Mona Elisa Behnke); the exceptionally creative visual team (Ildze Jakunova and Maija Sequeira); and importantly our senior adviser Hilde Spjelkavik Kveseth and our students, Olivia Schneider, Ingrid Lovise Ruud, Giulio Panettiere, Nikita Karbasov, and Andreas Lekkos who were true superheroes in the organization of the conference, going above and beyond to ensure its success and leaving an indelible mark.” Arsenii Khitrov, Keir Martin and Tuva Beyer Broch, The University of Oslo

Members of the organising committee and ENPA board

ENPA 2023 was organised in partnership with the University of Oslo, the European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA), and the Research Council of Norway, and we are grateful for their support.

About the author

Maija Sequeira is a Ph.D. student at the University of Helsinki who takes a trans-disciplinary and cross-cultural approach to understanding children’s development of social norms and values related to hierarchies. She is also a member of the ENPA blog team and board.

You can find more about her work here or connect with her on Twitter @maija_eliina

Prize for a Remarkable Published Paper in 2022 awarded to Merel Otto and Eva van Roekel

It is our pleasure to announce that the annual Prize for a Remarkable Published Paper in psychological anthropology has been awarded to Merel Otto and Eva van Roekel. Their paper, published in ETHOS in 2022, is entitled:

Struggling along in Nigeria: Depression, Treatment, and Morality

The Prize Committee, made up of the ENPA Convenors and a member of the ENPA Junior Faculty, wrote: 

As a committee, we thought that this was an excellent paper. The authors made many interesting and important points. Merel conducted her master’s research on mental health treatment in Lagos with a focus on how depression is mediated through such lenses as morality and poverty. Her fieldwork was cut short through mental health struggles of her own that she very candidly shares. Guided by Eva, her supervisor, Merel draws upon her lived experiences that both paralleled and distinguished from those of her interlocutors, and she uses these insights as a key part of her research. Among the article’s many contributions, we thought that this insight into the institutional and relational dynamics of postgraduate research supervision will be informative and inspiring. We see how reflexivity can turn any experience into innovative and publishable material whereby research may essentially be a frame of mind. The article is well represented by the following quote, “The psychic worlds we examine in this article therefore sit somewhere between Lagos and Amsterdam, the professional and the personal, the religious and the secular, and the moral and the immoral.” The article’s main conclusion develops Robert Desjarlais’s notion of ‘struggling along’ to critique medicalised assumptions that mental health illness can be entirely prevented or cured. Rather, with the support of seemingly mundane activities, people may get by through simply struggling along. Such an approach, it is argued, may in itself be a socially and morally meaningful experience. 

Many congratulations, Merel and Eva for this award of the ENPA Prize for a Remarkable Published Paper in 2022! 

WiPS: Perceptions of Parenthood in Communism and Their Implications in Today’s Adults in Romania, Dr. Lavinia Țânculescu-Popa, 11 May

Thursday, the 11th of May from 5 to 7 pm CET via Zoom.

This month we are happy to introduce Dr. Lavinia Țânculescu-Popa from Hyperion University, who will share her work-in-progress titled: 

“Perceptions of Parenthood in Communism and Their Implications in Today’s Adults in Romania”

The ENPA Works-in-Progress Seminar is a new venue for researchers, faculty and postgraduate students to present ongoing work, receive feedback and share ideas about their research in psychological anthropology and allied fields. The seminar meets on the second Friday of every month via Zoom.

To join ENPA WiPS and receive the link for the seminar, please register here.

ENPA prize for a remarkable published paper in 2022

The European Network for Psychological Anthropology (ENPA) is inviting nominations for the annual ENPA Prize for a published paper in psychological anthropology. The prize committee will be looking to highlight an article of special significance in its field, which could be, for example, making a valuable contribution to existing debates, taking a bold approach or drawing attention to an important but marginalised field of study.


  • Published between 1 January and 31 December, 2022
  • In any field of psychological anthropology
  • Include a short letter of nomination from a member of ENPA (self-nominations accepted) that highlights the contribution of the article
  • Deadline for submissions: 15 May 2023, via e-mail to
  • Winner of the prize will be announced at the ‘Get to know ENPA’ meeting at the 2023 ENPA conference, ‘Psychology and Anthropology in a Changing World’, University of Oslo, 7-9 June
  • There is no registration fee for ENPA membership. Interested persons may register here.
  • The ENPA conference is also running with no registration fee. There is an online option for those who cannot attend in person. The deadline for registration is 30 April, through this form.