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Title: Psychosocial interventions in emergencies : theoretical models and their ethical and political implications in the Venezuelan context : the case of UNICEF
Author: Rodriguez Mora, Isabel
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2004
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This dissertation presents an analysis of the models of psychosocial processes structuring UNICEF’s psychosocial intervention after the emergency caused by the floods in Venezuela during 1999, and some of their political and ethical implications. I discuss how UNICEF’s intervention in the shelter of Fuerte Tiuna, in Caracas, provides a context in which discourses and practices construct the disaster as an event of a particular type, affording particular positions to those affected by it, and presenting the intervention as a reparative response that engages in different ways with these constructions. Specific issues explored by this dissertation include how practices and discourses construct the disaster and its impact on persons and communities; the nature of the psychosocial intervention; the subject; and the different forms of expertise involved in the intervention. Further, it examines how the intervention-as-designed is implemented and how the actual contact with the beneficiary population generates changes not only in the implementation itself, but also in the conceptual frameworks displayed by UNICEF. The analysis presents UNICEF’s psychosocial intervention as a practice that is simultaneously material and discursive. The participation of experts, the use of specific resources, the deployment of techniques and their devices, the organisation of time and space within the intervention, can all be considered as supporting certain notions of the disaster, its impact and its solution, which organise the models of the psychosocial. The main issues that appear as relevant for the analysis are related to the way in which the intervention constructs the disaster as a psychosocial problem; the appeal to the notion of trauma to explain the impact on those affected; the disciplinary, ethical and political implications of the different forms of understanding suffering in the Venezuelan contemporary context and how the notions put forward by UNICEF’s intervention engage with the social dynamics in Venezuela, in particular with the processes associated with the social and political polarisation.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: CONICIT Venezuela
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: psychosocial interventions in emergencies ; trauma ; unicef ; psychosocial interventions in disasters ; recovery after disasters ; critical perspective on trauma ; critical psychology