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Social justice and mental health: what role for law?

June 12, 2019 @ 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm

The Centre for Law & Social Justice, School of Law, University of Leeds is pleased to announce that Professor Nikolas Rose, King’s College London, will deliver this year’s Annual Lecture: Social justice and mental health: what role for law?

The lecture will be followed by a drinks reception.


It is now widely accepted that both common and severe experiences of mental distress are shaped by social determinants across the life course, and that they are more common in sectors of the population that are poor, disadvantaged, in insecure housing and employment, stigmatised and/or experience racism and social exclusion. Thus mental ill health and social injustice are intimately intertwined, and major changes in this situation will depend upon the development of policies for mental health in areas ranging from urban planning, employment practices, welfare regulations, schooling, and related basic socio-political changes. In this lecture I will ask whether, and to what extent, rights based approaches can play an important part in achieving social justice in mental health in such a context. I will also consider the more specific questions of compulsory detention and involuntary treatment in the mental health system, and whether developments such as the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and the recommendations in the recent UK Independent Review of the Mental Health Act are adequate to combat a situation in which the majority of those subject to such provisions, at least in the UK, are from minority ethnic groups.

About the Speaker

Nikolas Rose is Professor of Sociology, and the founding Head of Department of Global Health and Social Medicine, which he established at King’s College London in January 2012. He originally trained as a biologist before switching to psychology and then to sociology. After ten years at Goldsmiths College he joined the London School of Economics in 2002. He founded the BIOS Centre for the Study of Bioscience, Biomedicine, Biotechnology and Society at LSE, and was its Director from 2003 to 2012. He has published widely with books that include: Neuro:The New Brain Sciences and the Management of the Mind (with Joelle Abi-Rached, Princeton, 2013); Powers of Freedom: Reframing Political Thought(Cambridge University Press, 1999), The Politics of Life Itself: Biomedicine, Power, and Subjectivity in the Twenty-First Century (Princeton University Press, 2006) and (with Peter Miller) Governing the Present (Polity, 2008). His latest book is Our Psychiatric Future: The politics of mental health (Polity, 2018). He has worked on a number of major research programmes on social and political implications of research in the life sciences, neuroscience and synthetic biology. He leads King’s Urban Brain Lab, and is undertaking interdisciplinary research on ‘Mental health, migration and the megacity’ in Shanghai, São Paulo and a number of other megacities. He is Chair of the Neuroscience and Society Network, an interdisciplinary collaboration of social scientists, philosophers, lawyers, neuroscientists and psychiatrists. He has been a member of several advisory groups including the Nuffield Council on Bioethics and has worked closely with the Royal Society and the Academy of Medical Sciences. In addition, he is a longstanding member of the Editorial Board of Economy and Society and founder and co-editor of BioSocieties: an interdisciplinary journal for social studies of the life sciences.

Location Details

Moot Court, LT 1.28
School of Law
Liberty Building
University of Leeds


University of Leeds


University of Leeds, School of Law
LS2 9JT + Google Map
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