Gyuzel Kamalova

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Toronto, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 10225

Approve Date

October 7, 2021

Project Title

Kamalova, Gyuzel (Toronto, U. of) "Enacting Diagnosis: Cognitive Disability and Moral Subjectivity in post-Soviet Kazakhstan"

This project investigates the social life of cognitive disability diagnosis in post-Soviet Kazakhstan, where the court uses cognitive difference to place individuals under legal conservatorship. The project asks what it means to identify and to be identified as a person with a cognitive disability, and thereby denied recognition as a moral subject. By considering diagnosis as an object of investigation this project reveals how cognitive difference is legitimized and treated medically and judicially. Building on the literatures in sociocultural medical anthropology, anthropology of post-socialism, and anthropology of cognitive disability, I investigate how adult Kazakhstanis with cognitive disability diagnoses negotiate recognition as moral subjects. The project unfolds in three phases: I 1) review cognitive disability diagnostic practices in Soviet psychiatry, 2) follow the practice and the implications of psychiatric diagnosis across clinical and legal spaces in post-independent Kazakhstan and 3) attend to how adults diagnosed with cognitive disabilities navigate their everyday lives to claim moral personhood in institutions, assisted independent living programs, and community programs. This research attends to how adults with cognitive disabilities care, form and maintain relations to hold their social worlds together, thereby contributing to the growing body of literature in anthropology of cognitive disability.