Carol Worthman, Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor Emerita of the Department of Anthropology, has received the 2021 Society for Psychological Anthropology Lifetime Achievement Award. The award “honors career-long contributions to psychological anthropology that have substantially influenced the field and its development. The award seeks to recognize the work of individuals whose sustained involvement in psychological anthropology has had a major impact on research directions, on the wider visibility and relevance of the field, and on the growth of a community of scholarship addressing issues of culture and psychology.“
Professor Worthman integrates anthropology, human development, and neuroscience to investigate the bases of differential well-being with a particular focus on adolescent and global mental health. She has conducted collaborative biocultural and biosocial research in thirteen countries, including Kenya, Tibet, Nepal, Egypt, Japan, Papua New Guinea, Vietnam and South Africa, as well as in rural, urban, and semi-urban areas of the United States.
Loneliness has been increasingly recognized as a public health issue rather than merely an individual psychological issue, as the appointment of the UK’s very first Minister of Loneliness in 2018 shows. In recent months, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted our need for social connection. Technology has allowed many of us to connect even when we are physically remote. Our need to connect with others is the very thing that creates the potential for loneliness. For this reason, loneliness should not be pathologized as a disorder, but rather seen as a natural expression of what it means to be a social being, born into and existing within a society. This does not mean that loneliness is experienced in the same way everywhere. As the papers in this special issue, “toward an anthropology of loneliness” amply illustrate, culture shapes expectations, experiences and expressions of loneliness.
Following this publication from 2020 is the Podcast on loneliness and the special issue Toward an Anthropology of Loneliness (Ozawa-de Silva and Parsons, 2020), Transcultural Psychiatry Podcast, 22,February.