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!