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Pathologizing populations and colonizing minds: internatioinal psychosocial programmes in Kosovo

Pupavac, Vanessa



Through a case study of international responses in Kosovo, this article critically analyses how the international therapeutic model constructs war-affected populations as traumatised and subject to psychosocial dysfunctionalism. The international therapeutic model may be summarised as follows: traumatic experiences cause trauma symptoms producing low self esteem and dysfunctionalism leading to abuse/violence, requiring external intervention to break the cycle of trauma and violence. The first half of the paper contends the international projection of the population as traumatised. The second half of the paper examines psychosocial intervention as a new mode of external therapeutic governance. The paper suggests that concern for war trauma in international policy does not necessarily represent a positive development for war-affected populations. International psychosocial intervention has been criticised as a form of cultural imperialism, that is, the imposition of a Western therapeutic model on other societies, which have their own coping strategies.


Pupavac, V. (2002). Pathologizing populations and colonizing minds: internatioinal psychosocial programmes in Kosovo. Alternatives, 27,

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jan 1, 2002
Deposit Date Jan 31, 2012
Publicly Available Date Jan 31, 2012
Journal Alternatives
Print ISSN 0304-3754
Electronic ISSN 0304-3754
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 27
Public URL
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