Date of Award

Winter 2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in Anthropology




Libya -- History -- Civil War (2011- ), Public health -- Libya, War -- Psychological aspects


Post-conflict Libya faces the challenges of establishing a national health system that is capable of addressing mental health needs for a population traumatized by decades of repression and a recent war. In order to recover, traumatized populations require feelings of safety, calm, empowerment, connectedness, and hope. To help achieve this outcome, programs must focus on medical and social aspects at both the individual and community level.

As part of an internship experience, I worked with Dr. Omar Reda, a Libyan psychiatrist at Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) who helps communities, organizations and mental health professionals throughout Libya to address the effects of trauma on Libyan society. From November 2011 until December 2012, I developed plans to assist social and psychological reconstruction, healing and reconciliation processes currently taking place and made recommendations for creative, community-based, psychosocial programs that are cost-effective, culturally appropriate and adaptable to different regions and communities. I divided these recommendations into the categories of nature, arts, movement and memory-based programs. In this paper, I reflect upon the product of my internship project in light of contemporary anthropological and sociocultural theories.

My research into post-conflict trauma falls within the realm of applied medical anthropology and also deals with the interrelated anthropological subjects of post-conflict society, global health, human rights and public policy. Although anthropology can and should engage with these subjects, currently little published research exists that addresses this particular combination of topics. In this document I reflect upon my internship by considering issues of neoliberalism, identity, subjectivity, and governmentality. Through this lens, I consider how psychosocial programs can potentially impact a post-conflict nation such as Libya. I argue that carefully crafted psychosocial programs can use positive forms of governmentality to shift the subjectivity of participants, creating conditions conducive to improving mental health and reducing conflict.


© 2013 Amanda Lubit

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This is a Policy Paper in fulfillment of the M.A. in Anthropology

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