Disputas – Master i sosialantropologi Mona Anita Kiil

Master i sosialantropologi Mona Anita Kiil disputerer for ph.d.-graden i helsevitenskap og vil offentlig forsvare avhandlingen:

«In Home we trust. An ethnographic study of mental health and the use of traditional medicine in a North Norwegian community»

Populærvitenskapelig sammendrag:

Unofficial health care exists in many North Norwegian communities, consisting of traditional and religious healers (readers), whom people actively use or would consider using when faced with illness or crisis. The municipality of Nordreisa in Northern Troms is commonly described as “the meeting place of three peoples”: Sami, Kvens and Norwegians. Despite this, the notion of culture appears connected to ambivalence as well as ambiguities, particularly concerning the Sami identity which can appear invisible or hidden; however, the cultural diversity is expressed and manifested through the use of reading, as well as identified through Laestadianism.

The findings revealed different dynamics of belonging, which are discussed using “home” and “trust” as analytical lenses. As users of traditional medicine, the participants in this study experienced a significant sense of vulnerability in their encounters with conventional mental health care. They expressed a lack of trust in conventional mental health services in regard to how their traditional and religious practices were being understood. Among other factors, they feared being misdiagnosed with more severe mental health disorders if they communicated their personal treatment philosophies. Regardless of negative experiences with conventional mental health care in the past, the users preferred a connection to both readers and conventional mental health care.

The participants` stories give an understanding of nerves as an embodied idiom of distress in the region. Nerves appear closely connected to people`s experiences from the process of forced assimilation and the expulsion from their homes during World War II. The continuous concealment which surrounds these events seemingly creates a type of local trauma but also insights for the people in Northern Troms; through nerves, mental distress is managed and identities are negotiated.

As they are users of conventional clinical treatment, reading and complementary and alternative modalities, these patients are experienced navigators between the different medical systems available in the community. The various modalities intertwine, and they simultaneously correspond to similar and different spheres and worldviews among people in the region. Disruption of traditional medical practices contains the element of an increasing combination with complementary and alternative modalities. However, the distinction between reading and complementary and alternative medicine is still valid for most people as it includes navigation of the skills and intentions of providers based on values and knowledge related to local insights and the common use of reading.

Hovedveileder professor Tore Sørlie
Biveileder Ph.d. Barbara Helen Miller

Professor Laurence J. Krimayer, Division of Social & Transcultural Psychiatry, McGill University - 1. opponent

Forsker emeritus Dagfinn Ulland, Universitetet i Agder - 2. opponent

Professor Anne Høye, Institutt for klinisk medisin, Det helsevitenskapelige fakultet, UiT Norges arktiske universitet – leder av komité

Professor Rolf Jorde, Institutt for klinisk medisin, Det helsevitenskapelige fakultet, UiT Norges arktiske universitet

Prøveforelesning over oppgitt emne holdes kl. 10.15, samme sted: “Cultural identity and modes of understanding common mental health problems – how can this be reflected in professional development, education and practice?”

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When: 24. mai 2019 kl. 12.15–15.00
Where: Auditorium Cortex, MH Vest
Location / Campus: Tromsø
Target group: Employees, Students, Guests, Invited
Responsible: Anders Kvanli