Psychosocial rehabilitation and democratic development in Nepal

Peter Triantafillou, Michel Sassene

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Today, centres and programmes for the rehabilitation of torture victims are found all over the world. In Nepal, one of the world's poorest countries, the Centre for Victims of Torture (CVICT) has since 1990 provided advanced psychosocial rehabilitation programmes. These and similar psychosocial interventions have made critics proclaim that Western psychosocial expertise subjects the bereaved of the Third World to repressive administrative power by objectifying and colonizing their minds. Meanwhile, advocates of psychosocial rehabilitation maintain that such criticisms fail to appreciate the ability of local healing strategies to actually empower torture victims through rehabilitation programmes. Inspired by Michel Foucault's concept of government, this article argues that both these assessments of torture rehabilitation overlook forms of power that work through the constitution of subjectivities. On both a discursive and a technical-practical level, the psychosocial therapy offered by the CVICT is trying to make torture victims align their personal desires and freedom with the political objectives of turning Nepal into a liberal democracy.
TidsskriftJournal for Cultural Research
Udgave nummer1
Sider (fra-til)35-54
Antal sider20
StatusUdgivet - 2011

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