Identity constructions at the intersection of mental illness, religion, ethnicity and gender in Belgium

PhD student: Elise Rondelez
Summary: The project considers identity constructions of Belgian Muslims considered ‘mentally ill’. They are characterised by their positioning in an intersection that can be considered as the opposite of ‘the rational subject’ of Western modernity. The affirmation of the modern self is grounded in the exclusion of ‘constitutive others’, and this structuring effect is tangible, notably in the realm of medical diagnosis. The investigation consists of a theoretical inquiry which contribute to the unpacking of this subject. This theoretical investigation is grounded in qualitative research with interlocutors whose narratives have not yet informed knowledge production in a Belgian context: Muslims with mental health problems are interviewed with respect to the kind of medical and psychiatric discourses they are confronted with; the discourses that are used in the Muslim community to make sense of mental health problems; and the ways in which they rely on different part(s) of their identity.
PhD in Sociology
Promoter(s): Sarah Bracke, Griet Roets (Social Work and Social Pedagogy, Ghent University)
Starting date: September 2013