The Subjective Experience of Psychosis in New Caledonia

Nathanaëlle Soler
Home Organization
Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris
Visiting Organization
Department of Anthropology, Stanford University
New Caledonia Landscape

Anthropological research has shown that people suffering with psychotic disorders tend to pay selective attention to their auditory hallucinations according to their sociocultural background: their experience of psychosis is shaped by their social environment, a phenomenon which also impacts the evolution of this mental disorder. In my postdoctoral research, I will look at “the Subjective Experience of Psychosis in New Caledonia” so as to explore the ways in which persons with psychotic disorders experience auditory hallucinations in New Caledonia. I will strive to answer the following questions: can the colonial and postcolonial environment in New Caledonia have a specific impact on people suffering with psychotic disorders? How can a society marked by the entanglement of French settlers’ colonialism and Pacific Islanders’ culture shape the experience of psychosis? To answer these questions, I will draw on the ethnographic materials I collected in the course of my dissertation research in New Caledonia and on interviews with patients who meet inclusion criteria for schizophrenia. The France-Stanford Visiting Junior Scholar Fellowship will allow me to write an article describing the experience of psychosis in New Caledonia, putting it in perspective with similar works done in other regions of the world.

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