- ‘We have come out of one place: it is called Omega’
- An ethnographic study on the role of context in understanding mental suffering among the !Xun and Khwe of South Africa
- Award date
- 5 July 2018
- Number of pages
- Document type
- PhD thesis
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
The !Xun and Khwe are two displaced and marginalized communities from the south and south-east parts of Angola and the Caprivi area of Namibia, now residing near Kimberley, South Africa. Their histories of violent conflicts, three forced displacements and marginalization are likely to negatively affect their mental well-being. This thesis aims to contribute to understanding the multi-dimensional character of mental suffering in displaced and marginalized communities. The studies presented here provide insights into the complex dynamics of social and mental despair among the !Xun and Khwe by exploring local understandings of mental suffering and how these are embedded in local contexts. The studies make visible how local understandings, meanings, and coping and caregiving strategies are embedded in sociocultural, social, socioeconomic, political, and historical contexts. Several lessons are drawn. Firstly, sociocultural contexts are of great importance for understanding mental suffering and consequently providing adequate cultural-sensitive care. Secondly, social and socioeconomic contexts are of importance in order to understand local stressors that cause stress and distress states. Thirdly, making local realities visible is valuable to uncover local obstacles and reveal opportunities for alleviating mental suffering. Psychosocial and holistic approaches that aim to address the social dimensions of mental suffering by strengthening or revitalizing local support structures and individual resilience, and address local stressors (e.g. poverty), are suggested as valuable strategies. These may be able to address the complex dynamics of mental suffering among the !Xun and Khwe and other displaced and marginalized communities around the world.
Thesis (complete) (Embargo up to and including 5 July 2020)
Chapter 3: Contextualized understanding of depression: A vignette study among the !Xun and Khwe of South Africa (Embargo up to and including 5 July 2020)
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