School of Health in Social Science

Charles Marley

Critical theory, mental health, and critical ethnography

My research focus relates to the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people.  I am interested in how the knowledges and practices that structure everyday social action relating to mental health and wellbeing emerge from within an ‘apparatus’ of interconnected cultural, political, and economic factors.  My approach draws on the work of Michel Foucault, Nickolas Rose, Carol Bacchi, and João Biehl.  By utilising various strands of their approaches, my approach engages with the nexus of elements that condition how we understand problems and the solutions generated to solve them.  I utilise a critical ethnographic approach to create ethnographic ‘case studies’ that connect everyday social action relating to mental health and wellbeing to a multitude of influencing social, institutional, political/policy factors that play a role in conditioning the possibility of these everyday practices to be in place.  My work overlaps with an emerging area within global mental health studies.  There have been calls within this theoretical domain for approaches that consider cultural, political, and economic factors and their interaction with local contextual factors.  The approach I adopt is an ‘at-home’ ethnography, one that utilises the constructs and theoretical approach emerging within the global health movement.



The emergence of the everyday social practice of ADHD


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