University of Neuchatel, Switzerland
Thesis: Using cultural-historical activity theory to explore trauma among refugee populations in Europe
Research supervisor: Assistant Prof. Laure Kloetzer

Given the nature of my doctoral thesis, which focuses on the question of psychological trauma among asylum seekers and refugees arriving in Europe in specific social contexts, I intend to base this research within the framework of Cultural-Historical Activity Theory. My research is conducted under the supervision of Asst. Prof. Laure Kloetzer, who herself has acted as a professor in the Summer University programme. I believe that participating in the summer university will allow me with a variety of invaluable opportunities to:

– consolidate my theoretical knowledge of cultural-historical psychology
– improve my skills in research, both in terms of methodology as well as analysis
– engage with peers in this academic community, with the objective of forging new scientific collaborations as well as having the opportunity to present my research thus far and to benefit from participating in discussions with leading international experts
– continue investigations into problems around cross-cultural communication in the social sphere, with which I am currently grappling

One of the key questions with which I am grappling and around which I would appreciate having the opportunity to engage, is “how can we, the ISCAR community, add to the ‘decolonization’ of pychology which goes beyond an ‘atomistic’ or individualised framing of psychological difficulties?” As such, I would like to explore the potential theoretical and methodological application of cultural-historical theory, firstly within the specific socio-historical context of the current wave of migration into Europe, and secondly, within the framework of psychiatric diagnostic constructs such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder as a (colonial?) cultural tool.