DoP Seminar - Professor Nikolas Rose

15 November 2023, 3:00 pm–4:00 pm

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DoP Seminars

The November Division of Psychiatry hybrid meeting will be held on Wednesday 15 November at 3pm.

Venue: UCL Campus

In this talk I will set out an approach to understanding and alleviating mental distress that develops the ‘biopsychosocial model of mental illness’ by drawing on developments in cognitive science and enactivist psychiatry, alongside those from studies that are beginning to identify the pathways by which experiences of adversity gets under the skin.  I term this a ‘5E’ approach to mental distress: it is embodied (not merely embrained); it is emplaced (in a particular niche or milieu); it is experienced (understood by the person in a particular and consequential way); it is enacted (in a person’s ways of making their life in a constrained environment); and it is encultured (shaped through and through by historical and cultural ways of framing feelings, beliefs and experiences).   My argument thus chimes with the recent assertion by Vikram Patel and othersthat ‘business as usual’ has failed to address the ‘mental health crisis’ and that we need to find new strategies that recognize the social embeddedness of mental distress, strategies that require a radical reframing of our understanding of mental ill health.

1. :Patel, V., Saxena, S., Lund, C., Kohrt, B., Kieling, C., Sunkel, C., . . . O’Neill, K. (2023). Transforming mental health systems globally: principles and policy recommendations. The Lancet, 402(10402), 656-666. 

About the Speaker

Professor Nikolas Rose

Nikolas Rose (FBA, FAcSS, FRSA)  is Honorary Professor in the Institute of Advanced Studies at UCL, and Distinguished Honorary Professor in the Research School of Social Sciences, Australian National University. He was Professor of Sociology at Kings College London from 2012 until his retirement in April 2021. He was the founding Head of the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at King’s and Co-Founder and Co-Director of King’s ESRC Centre for Society and Mental Health. Before moving to King’s, he was Martin White Professor of Sociology at the London School of Economics and Political Science, Head of the Department of Sociology from 2002 to 2006, and Director of the LSE’s BIOS Centre for the Study of Bioscience, Biomedicine, Biotechnology and Society, which he founded in 2003. Nikolas was trained as a biologist before switching to psychology and then to sociology.  His books include The Psychological Complex: Psychology, Politics and Society in England, 1869-1939  (1984), Governing the Soul: The Shaping of the Private Self  (1989), Inventing Our SelvesPsychology, Power and Personhood (1996), Powers of Freedom: Reframing Political Thought (1999), The Politics of Life Itself : Biomedicine, Power, and Subjectivity in the Twenty-First Century (2006),  Governing The Present (2008), Neuro: The New Brain Sciences and the Management of the Mind (written with Joelle Abi-Rached, 2013), Our Psychiatric Future: the politics of mental health  (2018) and The Urban BrainMental Health in the Vital City ( written with Des Fitzgerald, 2022). He is founder and co-editor of BioSocieties: an interdisciplinary journal for social studies of the life sciences. He is Chair of the Neuroscience and Society Network. He led the Foresight Lab of the Human Brain Project, was the lead investigator in several large EPSRC funded collaborations in synthetic biology, and was  lead partner in BIONET, a 21 partner consortium examining the ethical governance of research in the life sciences in China and Europe. For six years he was a member of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics, and he has worked in various capacities with the Academy of Medical Science and the Wellcome Trust, and was a member of the Science Policy Advisory Group of the Royal Society.