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Power, powerlessness and the politics of mobility: reconsidering mental health geographies

Lowe, J. and Deverteuil, G. ORCID: 2020. Power, powerlessness and the politics of mobility: reconsidering mental health geographies. Social Science and Medicine 252 , 112918. 10.1016/j.socscimed.2020.112918

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We use a qualitative, longitudinal study of 25 individuals with mental illness in the UK to better understand the relationships among mental health, power/lessness and im/mobility. Framed by the rise of the new mobilities paradigm and more specifically Cresswell's (2010) politics of mobility, we find that the extent to which the respective mobilities were expressions of internal free will or were undertaken as a result of external compulsion is a key demarcator of mental health. A key contribution is understanding the involuntary nature of (forced) immobility, or what we call entrapment. Entrapment is a punishing phenomenon, which causes distress to those unfortunate to experience it, and which can often be deepened rather than alleviated by those statutory bodies charged with providing care and support. The results speak to the need to recognize that (1) mobility is always relational and contextual, (2) (im)mobility is as much involuntary as voluntary, and that this has crucial implications for (mental) health, and (3) that the experience of individuals suffering from mental illness very much overlaps with what Philo (2017) called ‘less-than-human geographies’, providing a much-needed rebalance to the over-emphasis on well-being within health geography and (mental) health policy.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Geography and Planning (GEOPL)
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0277-9536
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 18 March 2020
Date of Acceptance: 10 March 2020
Last Modified: 11 Nov 2022 05:53

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