SOMAA Research Roundup

Welcome to our first SOMAA research roundup. Here you’ll find brief summaries and links to recent publications by SOMAA members covering such topics as housing and wellbeing, mental health in the Pacific, transcultural approaches to bioethics, and the taken-for-granted assumptions of bipolar disorder treatment. Happy reading!

Housing Children: South Auckland: The Housing Pathways Longitudinal Study

An important new study about housing and wellbeing in New Zealand by Kathryn Scott (U or Auckland), Julie Park (U or Auckland) and Patricia Laing (VUW), arguing that considering the changing ecology of housing over time for families and individuals —housing pathways — is fundamental to understanding housing issues.

Careful Words: Nursing, Language, and Emotion in Papua New Guinea

By Barbara Andersen (Massey Albany), this article reveals how nursing education in PNG socializes nurses to take stances toward language and communication that impact their care practices. In a resource-poor setting where health workers risk blame for structural inequalities, this “ethical metapragmatics” is an important but neglected facet of care work.

Competing Responsibilities: The Ethics and Politics of Contemporary Life.

A new edited volume by Susanna Trnka (U of Auckland) and Catherine Trundle (VUW). Noting the pervasiveness of the adoption of “responsibility” as a core ideal of neoliberal governance, the contributors to Competing Responsibilities challenge contemporary understandings and critiques of that concept in political, social, and ethical life.

Connecting the East and the West, the Local and the Universal: The Methodological Elements of a Transcultural Approach to Bioethics

This article by Jing-Bao Nie and Ruth Fitzgerald (Otago) proposes a “transcultural” approach to bioethics and cultural studies that: acknowledges the internal plurality within every culture, highlights the complexity of cultural differences,upholds the primacy of morality, incorporates a reflexive theory of social power, and promotes changes or progress towards shared and sometimes new moral values.

Digital Care: Agency and Temporality in Young People’s Use of Health Apps

This article by Susanna Trnka (U of Auckland) explores how  health apps shape young people’s experiences of themselves as agentive subjects in relation to their physical and mental wellbeing. These apps help to recast the spatiality and temporality of healthcare, enabling new ways of constituting and tracking health, expanding the possibilities of interactive exchanges with others, and redistributing a sense of agency and control.

Indigenizing military citizenship: remaking state responsibility and care towards Māori veterans’ health through the Treaty of Waitangi.

In this article Tarapuhi Bryers-Brown and Catherine Trundle (VUW) ask how militarism reshapes indigenous peoples’ relationships with settler states. They explore how military service and its health effects both open and foreclose avenues for Māori veterans to claim new modes of responsibility, citizenship, care and relationality with the New Zealand state.

Mental Health in the Smaller Pacific States and The History of Mental Health in Fiji

In these two book chapters Jacqueline Leckie (Otago) and her co-authors analyzes the social, cultural, political, and economic factors contributing to mental health, the issues shaping treatment options in the Pacific, and the impacts of colonial history on mental illness and its care.

Fetal genetic difference and a cosmopolitan vernacular of the right to choose

In this article Ruth P. Fitzgerald (Otago), Susan Wardell (Otago) and Michael Legge  (Otago) engage with feminist and critical disability studies and cosmopolitan ethics to search for a cosmopolitan vernacular of the “right to choose” among people faced with the predicaments surrounding fetal genetic difference. They propose that a cosmopolitan ethics based on obligations to strangers better explains diverse women’s responses to the issue of prenatal testing than existing feminist analyses.

Psychoeducation for bipolar disorder: A discourse analysis

In this article Anne Scott (U of Canterbury) and her co-authors offer a Foucauldian discourse analysis and critical perspective on psychoeducation in order to explore the taken-for-granted assumptions on which this treatment is based. Psychoeducation produce three key subject positions for people with bipolar disorder: they must accept and recognize the authority of psychiatry to know them; come to see that they can moderate themselves; and see themselves as able to undertake a reflexive process of self-examination and change.


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