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Psychotic Experiences, Religion, and Spirituality - 14-16 mai 2012

International Conference 14-16 may 2012 Université Paris Descartes. 45, rue des Saints-Pères. Paris 75006


Recent research in the history and anthropology of mental illness and healing have opened new perspectives on the relation between psychotic experiences, on the one hand, and religion and spiritual idioms, on the other. They have highlighted the manifold varieties of that relationship : religion and spirituality as resources for the verbalization of psychotic experiences ; their use as self-healing through bricolage procedures ; their legitimizing role for patients and their entourage in the mediation of experiences of otherness ; finally their therapeutic potential, which is much valued today by a number of mental health practitioners, as well as their claimed ability to foster the social integration of patients.

We should notice here that these studies tend to develop constructivist and pragmatic views of religious experience and spirituality, against the background of psychosis viewed as an invariant. In this sense, they show a certain conventional psychiatric bias. It would thus be important to confront these approaches with studies rooted in current psychiatric practices, namely in the domain of transcultural psychiatry, as far as they show an interest in the religious beliefs and the spirituality of patients.

This conference aims analyze these topics through in-depth accounts of cases and clinical and fieldwork-based research ; Papers are centered on reported or observed psychotic experiences and discuss the ways in which religious and spiritual idioms are mobilized by patients, as well as by medical and psychological practitioners and religious healers in their therapeutic relations. Overall, the workshop covers a significant variety of social institutions, contribute to the shaping of individual psychotic experience, and how they create dynamics of integration and exclusion. In addition, by inviting social scientists and medical practitioners to confront their perspectives, we would like to question what appears to be the underlying constructivist stance on many recent perspectives on religious experience and spirituality linked to psychotic states.

The conference will take place in English.
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(Limited number of places)