Special Issue Call For Papers: Social Inclusion and mental health: The transformation of identities and intersectional relations of power and oppression

Calls for Papers: Special Issue

Social Inclusion and mental health: The transformation of identities and intersectional relations of power and oppression

Submission Deadline: October 31st 2013

Special Issue Guest Editors:

Carol Munn-Giddings, Professor of Participative Inquiry, Anglia Ruskin University, England

Roar Stokken, Researcher More and Romsdal Hospital Trust, Volda, Norway

Reima Ana Maglajlic, Research and Monitoring Director, Mental Disability Advocacy Center, Budapest, Hungary

CFP - PDF version


The European Context of Social Inclusion
In a number of European countries mental health services are in a process of change, in part as a result of the closure of a large number of psychiatric total institutions, in part due to the impact of the service user movement and new meaning of ‘recovery’ in mental health, coupled with a dominant neo-liberal governmental focus on competitive employment as the best outcome for the person and for society. This mixture entails opportunities, contradictions and conflicting directions, as well as struggles for dominance of one approach as against the other.

Although European societies differ in their history, culture and understanding of mental health issues, they warrant looking at commonalities in their direction of change. All of them have developed more services in the community than was the case before 1980, all of them state that they see a place in society for people facing severe mental health issues, yet all of them still use medication as the main intervention method, applying psychological treatment less frequently and with fewer variations, with social interventions trailing a poor third. However, set against this context, in most countries there is an increasing interest in the involvement of service users in service policy and planning and in auditing services and in contributing to training and research, despite a general paucity of recorded good practice.

The Conceptual Framework

The concept of social inclusion came to the fore following the focus on social exclusion in the context of poverty and social deprivation in France, and was then adopted across the EU. Whereas social exclusion denotes the inferior social position of people with disability and their social marginality, social inclusion has come to indicate the possibility and potential for their greater inclusion within the societies to which they belong.

Exploring and critiquing social inclusion raises a number of conceptual issues not least how the rights and opportunities for participation are framed and available or otherwise for people experiencing barriers to mental wellbeing. Complex issues intersect and become relevant, such as the daily impact of stigmatisation on service users self –identity. This is also the arena in which stigmatisation due to different issues is compounded (e.g. discrimination due to minority ethnicity, gender and poverty). Less often we come across accounts of, or make use of, the ways service users handle stigma, either in their own words or in research. The internalisation of the stigmatised identity by service users requires attention too.

Within the context of mental health specifically, the key discourse on exclusion and inclusion is the cultural one, where poverty is a reflection of stigma and othering, where deprivation of citizenship rights happens frequently, and integration is perceived in terms of expanding opportunities for social networking, meaningful activities, of which employment is a major, but not the only, or the most important, achievement on the pathway to social inclusion. The realisation of the hybrid identity of all of us, but of some groups more than others, in the context of ethnic identity, is yet to filter to the mental health field.

It is the growth of opportunities which typifies developments in social inclusion across Europe, be it in access to adult education, employment, housing, volunteering, day activities and sociability. This is coupled with stigma reduction work engaging people who use mental health services. The development of peer alternatives to medication, the Open Dialogue approach and on shared decision making in psychiatric medication management is encouraging, but is meeting resistance mainly from some service providers, and is far from becoming a mainstream intervention.

A central element in bringing about social inclusion is that of reducing the power inequality which pervades the mental health system across Europe. The success or failure of social inclusion is assessed by the ability of the community to enhance the re-entry of people who are citizens with mental health difficulties to the common spaces at most levels, and by that of the person’s own contribution to taking an active role in such activities. Another key dimension of success or failure is the ability to remove structural barriers, the adoption of less stigmatising social attitudes towards this group, and enabling solidarity to develop.

This shift then from an exclusion to an inclusion discourse, which took place towards the end of the 20th century, needs to be better understood. Is it the culmination of the neo-liberal dream of putting the responsibility to become included on the individual who is facing barriers to their mental wellbeing, leaving the state, the professional service providers and the general public without responsibilities towards the reduction of stigma and deprivation and towards increasing opportunities and support for social inclusion? Is it the wish to have a stakeholders’ coalition working together to achieve genuine inclusion? Does it include change at the social structural level? Does it include change in social stigma and in internalised stigma? Is it perceived as necessitating attitudinal-cultural change, which needs to be reflected also in the opportunities available and the social representation of people experiencing mental health issues? How do we address the neglect of solidarity and community activities and service users own agency, for example through the development of peer led self -help groups and organisations.

We welcome papers that reflect the discourses and issues of the conceptual framework above (reflecting on power, oppression, privilege, identity, transformation) and will be looking to develop an issue that reflect the multiplicity of voices (service users, service providers, researchers) in the social inclusion mix:

Potential Themes of interest:

Narratives of transformation - experiential narratives which look at how engagement with peers and new learning ‘spaces’ have given citizens the opportunities to work towards transforming their lives.

Dilemmas focused on the transformation of identities - transforming identity and social relations and the dilemmas this provokes in power relations and identity.

Transforming services towards Social Inclusion - Accounts of co-production in services and the transformation of professional-user relations.

Transformation between and beyond services towards social inclusion - Accounts of innovative projects that transcend typical service delivery.

To ensure articles are in keeping with the journal’s focus, we would want authors to ensure their articles frameworks make explicit relevant intersectional relations of power are enmeshed in processes of social justice and injustice. Please refer to the Journal policy at: http://journals.library.mun.ca/ojs/index.php/IJ/about/editorialPolicies#focusAndScope

We also request that authors avoid medicalized language as much as is possible.

Process for submission:

All articles should be submitted via the Intersectionalities online submission process which can be accessed at http://intersectionalities.mun.ca articles will be subject to a formal review process according to the Journal’s usual process (two double-masked peer reviews including a reviewer who is a specialist in this area) and will be evaluated on the basis of originality, quality and relevance to this Special Issue. Word-length is between 4000 to 7000 words per article. The Special Issue editors will be responsible for feedback to authors after the review process has been completed and for making final decisions on the acceptance of papers and selection for the Special Issue. If a paper is accepted but does not go into the SI due to length restrictions it will be published in a later edition of the Journal.

Submitted papers should be formatted in accordance with the Journal style. Please note it is the responsibility of the submitting authors to ensure that the articles are correctly edited for the English language and within the journal’s format. For more detailed information concerning the requirements for submission please refer to the Journal’s homepage at: http://intersectionalities.mun.ca

When submitting please mark your article very clearly at the top of the article ‘To be considered for the Social Inclusion and Mental Health Special Issue’.

All enquiries should be directed to the Guest Editors:
Carol Munn-Giddings, Carol.Munn-Giddings@anglia.ac.uk
Roar Stokken, roarstokken@mac.com
Reima Ana Maglajlic, rea.mag@gmail.com

ISSN: 1925-1270