Jessica Cooper, Anthropology

Psychological Citizenship at the Costa County Mental Health Court

Wed, 03/06/2013
Noon, 438 Robertson Hall
Event Category: 
Graduate Students

Please join us for a discussion with Jessica Cooper, graduate student in Anthropology, to discuss "Psychological Citizenship at the Costa County Mental Health Court."

Abstract:  "This paper explores the operations of the Costa County Mental Health Court (CCMHC), a non-adversarial, problem-solving, criminal court that adjudicates only mentally ill offenders. As a result of participation in the CCMHC, offenders gain access to mental health care treatment in place of incarceration. Given that only mentally ill individuals have entrée to the CCMHC, what is the impact of the state treating a particular population of citizens differently on their basis of their mental health status? How does the CCMHC restructure the relationship between citizen and State? This paper investigates these questions through an ethnographic analysis of the CCMHC's operations from January to June 2011. I argue that the CCMHC is a site of enactment of psychological citizenship. In other words, at the CCMHC, the bonds of citizenship are defined in psychological terms."

LEGS, or "Law-Engaged Graduate Students," meets during the academic year to discuss a work in progress by one of our Graduate Associates. Academic papers, dissertation proposals, and dissertation chapters have been presented at these meetings, to an audience of fellow graduate students.