JBSP Online: Rosa Ritunnano – Overcoming Hermeneutical Injustice in Mental Health

journal update

Available now online, a new & BSP/JBSP prize winning article by Rosa Ritunnano (University of Birmingham and University of Melbourne).

Rosa Ritunnano – ‘Overcoming Hermeneutical Injustice in Mental Health: A Role for Critical Phenomenology’: JBSP (Originally published online: 31 January 2022).

This article was winner of the British Society for Phenomenology (BSP) and the Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology (JBSP) 2021 Wolfe Mays Essay Prize for Early Career Researchers on the theme of Engaged Phenomenology. Read more on the prize in the ‘Editor’s Introduction‘ (V53 #2: 2022) by Keith Crome & Darian Meacham.

This article is open access

Abstract: The significance of critical phenomenology for psychiatric praxis has yet to be expounded. In this paper, I argue that the adoption of a critical phenomenological stance can remedy localised instances of hermeneutical injustice, which may arise in the encounter between clinicians and patients with psychosis. In this context, what is communicated is often deemed to lack meaning or to be difficult to understand. While a degree of un-shareability is inherent to subjective life, I argue that issues of unintelligibility can be addressed by shifting from individualistic conceptions of understanding to an interactionist view. This takes into account the contextual, historical and relational background within which meaning is co-constituted. I conclude by providing a corrective for hermeneutical injustice, which entails a specific attentiveness towards the person’s subjectivity, a careful sensitivity to contingent meaning-generating structures, and a degree of hermeneutical flexibility as an attitude of openness towards alternative horizons of possibility.

Full article: https://doi.org/10.1080/00071773.2022.2031234 (open access)

Rosa Ritunnano, Institute for Mental Health, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, England; and Centre for Youth Mental Health, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Australia

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