Health Place 2021 Apr 29;69:102577. Epub 2021 Apr 29.
Professor of Animal Behaviour and Cognition, National Institute of Advanced Studies, Indian Institute of Science Campus, Bengaluru, 560 012, Karnataka, India. Electronic address:
How might urban mental health be understood when animals reconfigure human wellbeing in the lived city? Drawing upon ethnographic fieldwork on people and macaques in New Delhi and forging novel conversations between urban studies, ecology and psychiatry, our ontology of urban mental health moves from lived experience of the built environment to those configured by dwelling with various interlocutors: animals, astral bodies and supernatural currents. These relations create microspaces of wellbeing, keeping forces of urban precarity at bay. This paper discusses mental health ecologies in different registers: subjectivity being environmental, its scale being relational rather than binary, enmeshed in the dynamics of other-than-human life, and involving conversations between medical and vernacular practices rather than hierarchies of knowledge. Read More