Citizens of the World? A Reading Group event with Chris Scanlon and John Adlam

Association for Psychosocial Studies Online Reading Group

Citizens of the world? – An Association for Psychosocial Studies Reading Group event

Register here:

Chris Scanlon and John Adlam

Friday 25 March, 4 – 6pm

This month we have a very special reading group. Chris Scanlon and John Adlam will be presenting their new book: Psycho-social Explorations of Trauma, Exclusion and Violence: Un-housed Minds and Inhospitable Environments.

Chapter 3 of the book is available to download for free here


About this event:

In our recently published book we explore the operation of discourses of power, privilege, and position as they are revealed in relations of domination and toxic ‘othering’ as between privileged in-groups ‘in possession’ and oppressed and dispossessed out-groups. We analyse and critique the inhospitable environments generated by these societal in-groups at local, societal, cultural, and global levels. We particularly foreground the complex intersections between empire, doctrines of supremacy and racism, human mobility, and climate disaster, which the present war of aggression being waged against Ukraine so catastrophically aggravates.


In the chapter this group will study, we develop our exploration of how excluded monadic outsiders experience the (in-)hospitality of the in-group; and the extent of their scattered and essentially ambivalent relationships with the out-group. We build on our Diogenes paradigm using vignettes from the life of the early Christian saint, Simeon Stylites, and we show how his almost suicidal asceticism disturbed his fellow monks beyond even their own considerable endurance.


Like Diogenes, Simeon’s position in relation to a societal in-group was to consider that the only place he can take his stand is at the very edge of it. We explore how from this positioning both men earned and built what trust came their way by virtue of their truth-telling about the relations of domination to which they were exposed. We extend our discussion of the problematic nature of this liminality by exploring the relationship between the modern in-group, in the form of the State and its ‘metropolitan’ systems of care, and the various contemporary, out-groups who are experienced as (and vilified and silenced for) being ‘out-of-place’.



Psycho-social explorations of trauma, exclusion and violence: Un-housed minds and inhospitable environments


You can order the book from the publisher’s website here




“This book inspires a feeling of relief. It brings together the most pressing issues of our time – climate change, genocide, exclusionary nationalism and deep-rooted dehumanising racisms – in profoundly original ways that address power relations, exclusions, ‘unhousedness’ and (re)traumatisation. It faces the pain they engender while refusing familiar, patronising tropes of otherness. Its perceptive, and sometimes poetic, scholarship brings deep hope that other, genuinely psychosocial ways of living and relating are possible, despite disagreements and disappointments along the way.” Ann Phoenix, Professor of Psychosocial Studies, UCL


In this elegantly argued, carefully documented work, Chistopher Scanlon and John Adlam offer a refreshing critical angle on some of the most pressing forms of social traumatization and exclusion. Going beyond ‘dispossession’, ‘necropolitics’, and ‘states of exception’ as means of characterizing the social injury wrought by inhospitable neoliberal sovereigns, they deploy a deeply critical, practice-based lens to looking at the suffering in our world produced by colonial and racist structures, mechanisms of dispossession and unhousedness, and ecocidal policies that are exacerbating a global migration crisis. The authors mitigate their disappointment at the persistence of oppression by proposing a blueprint for solidarity around anti-oppressive social action. Prof Michael O’Loughlin, Adelphi University, New York, co-editor Psychoanalysis, Culture & Society.


Starting from homelessness and ending with ‘race’ this is a study of abjection and shame and of its refusal, the refusal to go quietly into the night and accept your place on society’s outermost margins. Scanlon and Adlam examine the vexed relations between those who are cast out and those who, simply by occupying the position that they occupy, do the casting. This wonderfully imaginative and principled book draws upon a startling diversity of sources to explore the paradoxes and predicaments of structural violence. Prof Paul Hoggett, Co-Founder of the Climate Psychology Alliance.


All registered attendees should automatically be sent a Zoom link. The link will be re-sent the day of the event.


Author biographies:

Chris Scanlon is a psycho-socialist consultant/researcher, group analyst, consultant general adult and forensic psychotherapist, and associate lecturer in psycho-social and organisational studies at the Tavistock & Portman NHS Trust. Twitter: @CHRISTOPHERSCA8

John Adlam is an independent researcher, group psychotherapist and consultant psychotherapist. He is a founder member of the Association for Psychosocial Studies and a former Vice President of the International Association for Forensic Psychotherapy. Twitter: @Diogenesquely

Chris and John were both colleagues at the Outreach Service of the Henderson Hospital Democratic Therapeutic Community before that Service’s abrupt and scandalous closure in April 2008.


Other events are currently in the planning stage, follow us on Twitter, Facebook or sign up as a Member to keep up to date with everything. Members will continue to receive copies of the Journal of Psychosocial Studies as a further benefit of subscription to the Association.

Jacob Johanssen
Author: Jacob Johanssen

Member of the executive committee of the Association for Psychosocial Studies and Associate Professor in Communications, St Mary's University.