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Professor Irene Bruna Seu

Professor in Psychosocial Studies
MA, PhD (London).
Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist (UKCP Reg.).

Research and teaching

Introduction

  • Bruna Seu joined Birkbeck in 2000. Her first degree was in Philosophy and Social Sciences, her Master's in Social Psychology with a dissertation on R.D. Laing and the anti-psychiatric movement, and her PhD was in Social Psychology. She qualified as a Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist in 1989 and has practised as a psychotherapist since. During that time she has maintained her commitment to anti-psychiatric practices and therapeutic communities through her involvement with the work of the Arbours Association, in North London. Her interest in power dynamics and discrimination, the complexities of moral existence and social responsibility, and suffering was further developed through her research on women’s shame, on which she has published widely and, more recently, through her work on public responses to human rights violations and humanitarian causes.
  • EDUCATION

    1988-95    PhD in Psychology, University College London, UK

    1984-89    Training in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy (UKCP Reg.), The Arbours Association, London

    1982-83    MA in Psychology, Universita degli Studi di Cagliari, Italy

    1979-82    Honours Degree (Summa cum Laude) in Philosophy and Social Sciences. University of Cagliari, Italy

Research interests

  • Human Rights and humanitarianism; social responsibility and helping behaviour:
  • For some years I have researched public responses to mediated news of Human Rights abuses, both in the UK and Spain, thanks to the support of a Leverhulme Foundation Fellowship and Birkbeck College Research grants. With time, these have evolved into an interest in the related issues of moral and social responsibility, pro-social behaviour, moral boundaries and discursive constructions of the ‘Other’. I have used a psychosocial approach to bring together psychological work on altruism and denial , as well as psychodynamic and discursive readings of emotional responses. This work has culminated in the publication of the monograph ‘Passivity Generation; Human Rights and Everyday Morality’ (2013), by Palgrave Macmillan. I have also published on these subjects in Psychological and Human Rights journals.
  • Since 2010 I have been Principal Investigator on the project ‘Mediated Humanitarian Knowledge; audiences’ responses and moral actions', funded by the Leverhulme Trust and ran in collaboration with Shani Orgad, LSE and the late Stanley Cohen, also from the LSE. This psychosocial project is interested in public emotional and cognitive responses to humanitarian communications, in public understanding of humanitarian problems and how their responses and actions relate to their everyday morality. The project also explores the biographical and psychodynamic underpinnings of these responses from members of the public, as well as the psychosocial schemas used by NGOs to communicate about humanitarian issues and whether these overlap or not with those used by the public.

Supervision

  • Areas of supervision
  • Psycho-social inquiry into moral apathy in response to human rights abuses; psychoanalytic and social psychological contributions to the understanding of oppression, race, discrimination, identity and helping behaviour; social constructions of femininity and gender; discourse analysis and social constructionism.
  • Ongoing PhD and Doctoral supervision

    1. Dominic Reilly (Bonnart scholarship) – joint supervisor with Gail Lewis
    2. Haley Curran – first supervisor with Jessica Reisneich
    3. Ben Yeo – joint supervisor with Laurence Spurling
    4. Flavia Ansaldo – joint supervisor with Gail Lewis
    5. Jo Hazelwood – second supervisor with Laurence Spurling

     

  • Recently completed PhDs:
    1. G. Heaphy
    2. S. Peter                      Awarded. No corrections (second supervisor)
    3. E. Crasnow                Awarded. No corrections (first supervisor).
    4. S.Shoesmith              Awarded. (joint supervision with S. Roseneil)
    5. E. Hughes                  Awarded 2010 (joint supervisor with S. Frosh)
    6. L. Moore                    Awarded. No corrections (first supervisor)
    7. M. Castagna-Shoo      Awarded (first supervisor)
    8. S. Szimai                    Awarded (joint supervisor with S. Frosh)
    9. J. Bennett                    Awarded (joint supervisor with S. Frosh
    10. A. Middleton              Awarded (first supervisor)
    11. M. Averback               Awarded. No corrections (first supervisor)
    12. M.Mallaghan.             Awarded (first supervisor)

    PhD examination

      2018 - Gina Donoso (external/international examiner - Department of social

      Psychology, University of Ghent, Belgium)

      2018-  Johannes Baron von Engelhardt (external/international examiner-Erasmus

      research Centre for media, communication, and culture. University Rotterdam, the Netherlands)

      2015 – Judith Fessner (external examiner – Regents University, London)

      2014 - Verity Curry (internal examiner)

  • Elizabeth Hughes: Psychosocial issues faced by adopted women who choose to reunite with their birth fathers (completed)
  • Marcus Averback: "Fatherhoods in Family Therapy; A Discourse Analysis of Family Therapists’ Contributions to the Constructions of Fatherhoods."
  • Janette Bennett: “(Dis)ordering Motherhood: Mothering a child with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)”
  • Martine Castagna-Shoo: “Helping adolescents; a discursive analysis of young adults’ talk of prosocial behaviour”
  • Andrew Middlecoat: “How are the existing biological relationships with families affected by fostering?”
  • Szilvia Minai: In the Shadow of the Oppressor: A psychopolitical study of subordination and resistance.
  • Lynn Moore: “Families’ talk about their first session of family therapy; a discursive analysis”
  • Current PhD and Doctoral Students
  • Sharon Shoesmith: Unpalatable truths: How does society cope?
  • Eva Cracow: Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy (DPsychotherapy)
  • Xena Leung: Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy (DPsychotherapy
  • Michael Mallaghan: “Negotiating gay Chinese subjectivities – shame, dilemmas and conflicts” (submitted)
  • Angeline Wallis: Child and adolescent psychotherapy (DPsychotherapy)
  • Flavia Anfolso: Child and adolescent psychotherapy (DPsychotherapy)
  • Mahnaz Sekechi: Iranian Diaspora: Patterns of early attachments and feelings of belongingness

Publications

Books/Monographs

  • Seu, I.B. and Orgad, S. (2017) Caring in Crisis? Humanitarianism, the public and NGOs. London and New York: Palgrave Macmillan & Springer. ISBN: 978-3-319-50258-8 http://www.palgrave.com/gb/book/9783319502588
  • Seu, I.B. (forthcoming) Bystanders to Human Rights abuses; the psychology of inaction. Cambridge University Press.
  • Seu, I.B. (2013) Passivity Generation; Human Rights and Everyday Morality. London: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Seu I. B. (ed.) (2000) “Who am I? The Self and Ego in Psychoanalysis.” Vol. V in the series 'Encyclopedia of Psychoanalysis,' London: Rebus Press/ Karnac
  • Seu, I. B. and Heenan, C. (eds.) (1998) Feminism and Psychotherapy; Reflections on Contemporary Theories and Practices. Vol. 3 in the series ‘Perspectives on Psychotherapy,’ London: Sage.

Journal articles

  • Seu, I.B. (2016) ‘The deserving’; moral reasoning and ideological dilemmas in public responses to humanitarian communications. The British Journal of Social Psychology, 55(4): 739–755. DOI: 10.1111/bjso.12156
  • Seu, I.B. (2015) Appealing children; UK audiences’ responses to the use of children in humanitarian communications. Special Issue on Audiences and Distant Suffering. International Communication Gazette (10) Vol. 77(7): 654–667. DOI:10.1177/1748048515601557
  • Seu, I.B. (2015) The ‘Good Samaritan’ and the ‘Marketer’: public perceptions of humanitarian and international development NGOs. International Journal of Non-profit and Voluntary Sector Marketing.
  • Seu, I.B. (2015) A double-edge sword; the role of Psychoanalysis in public responses to Human rights violations; denial, justifications and passivity Psychodynamic Practice
  • Orgad, S. and I.B. Seu (2014) 'Intimacy at a distance' in humanitarian communication’. Media, Culture and Society, 36 (7), 916-934
  • Seu. I. B. and L. Cameron (2013) Empathic mutual positioning in reconciliation work. Special Section: Encountering the Narrative of the Other. Peace and Conflict; Journal of Peace Psychology.Vol.19 (3), 266-280
  • Orgad, S. and I. B. Seu (2013 ) The Humanitarian Emergency at Work: A critique of current research on the mediation of distant suffering. Communication, Culture and Critique Vol. 6 (4)
  • Phoenix, A. and I. B. Seu (2013) Negotiating daughterhood and strangerhood: Retrospective accounts of serial migration. Feminism and Psychology. Vol.23 (3), 299-316
  • Cameron, L and I. B. Seu (2012) Landscapes of empathic understanding: Spatial metaphors and metonymies in responses to distant suffering. Text & Talk, 32 (3), 281–305.
  • Seu, I. B. ( 2012) ‘In countries like that…The symbolic construction of moral boundaries in Human Rights talk. The Sociology of Human Rights, Special Issue. The International Journal of Human Rights
  • Seu, I. B. (2011) ‘Shoot the Messenger’: Dynamics of Positioning and Denial in Response to Human Rights Appeals. Journal of Human Rights Practice. 3 (2), 139-161.
  • Moore, L and I. B. Seu (2011) Giving children a voice: Children’s positioning in Family Therapy. Journal of Family Therapy. 33 (3).
  • Seu. I.B. and Cameron, L. (under review) The role of empathic mutual positioning in reconciliation work. Journal of Peace Research
  • Seu. I.B. (2008) “Everybody is welcome but nobody is living next to me”; talking of emotions and with emotions about refugees. Special issue on ‘Asylum and Refugees’ Annual Review of Critical Psychology 6, 71-88.
  • Seu, I.B. (in press). Bystanders to Human Rights appeals: A critical reappraisal of the ‘Passive Bystander’ phenomenon. Human Relations.
  • Seu, I.B. (under review) Bystanders to Human Rights appeals: a critical reappraisal of the ‘Passive Bystander’ phenomenon. Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology
  • Moore, L and Sue, I. B. (accepted for publication) Giving children a voice; children’s positioning in Family Therapy. Journal of Family Therapy
  • Moore, L and Sue, I. B. (2010) ‘Doing family therapy’: A Foucauldian Discourse Analysis. European Journal of Psychotherapy and Counselling. 12 (4).
  • Seu, I. B. (2010) Doing Denial: Audiences’ Reactions to Human Rights Appeals. Discourse and Society. 21 (4), 438-457.
  • Seu, I. B. (2010) The ‘anti-social’ nature of prosocial research: a psychosocial critique. Psychology Compass.
  • Moore, L and Seu, I. B. (2010) ‘Doing family therapy’; a Foucauldian Discourse Analysis. European Journal of Psychotherapy and Counselling. Vol.12 (4)
  • Seu. I.B. (2008)“Everybody is welcome but …”. Talking of emotions and with emotions about refugees; a psychosocial discursive analysis. In Callaghan, J and R. Capdevila (Eds.) Special issue on Globalization, Migration & Asylum: the peril of the alien and the safety of the familiar. Annual Review of Critical Psychology. Vol.6; 71-88

Chapters in edited books

  • Seu. I.B. (2017) Passive bystanders to the suffering of distant ‘Others’ – insights from psychoanalysis. In: Kaposi, D. (Eds.) New directions in social psychology. Sage-The Open University press
  • Seu, I.B. (2017) Prosocial behaviour. In Gough, B. (Ed.) The Palgrave Handbook of Critical Psychology.London: Palgrave.
  • Seu, I.B. (2016) Denial and acknowledgment in public responses to information about human rights violations. In: Moerland, R, Nelen, H, and Willems, J (Eds.) Denialism and Human Rights. Cambridge: Intersentia Lt./Maastricht centre for Human Rights.
  • Seu, I.B. (2015) Learning from the public; UK audiences’ responses to humanitarian appeals. In: Cottle and Cooper (eds.)Humanitarianism, Communications and Change
  • Seu, I.B. (2015) Knowing and not knowing; implicatory denial and defence mechanisms in response to human rights violations. In: Frosh, S. (ed.) Psychosocial Imaginaries. Series: Studies in the Psychosocial, Palgrave MacMillan
  • Seu, I.B. (forthcoming) Ambivalence, Denial and Resistance in humanitarian helping; a psychosocial critique of the bystander effect. In Levine, Dixon and Dovidio (Eds.) Beyond Helping: Theory, Methods and Practice in Helping Research
  • Seu, I. B. (2011) Virtual Bystanders to Human Rights abuses: A psychosocial analysis. (ch.47, 533-547) In T. Cushman (ed.)Handbook of Human Rights. London and New York: Routledge.
  • Seu, I. B. (2009) Shameful silences: Self-protective secrets and methodological omissions. In R. Ryan-Flood and R. Gill (eds.)Secrets and Silences in the Research Process: Feminist Reflections. London: Routledge.
  • Seu I. B. (2005) Feminist Psychotherapy in C. Feltham and I. Horton (eds.) (2nd ed.)  Handbook of Psychotherapy and Counselling.London: Sage.
  • Cohen, S. and Seu, I. B. (2002) Knowing enough not to feel much: Emotional thinking about human rights appeals, in Bradley, M. and P. Pedro (eds), Truth Claims: Representation and Human Rights. London: Rutgers University Press.
  • Seu I. B. (2000) Feminist Psychotherapy, in C. Feltham and I. Horton (eds.)  Handbook of Psychotherapy and Counselling.London: Sage.
  • Seu, I. B. (1998) Change and Theoretical Frameworks, in I. B. Seu & C. Heenan (eds.) Feminism and Psychotherapy: Reflections on Contemporary Theories and Practices London: Sage.
  • Heenan, C. and I. B. Seu (1998) Questions, Answers and Absences in Feminist Psychotherapies, in Seu, I. B. and C. Heenan (eds.) Feminism and Psychotherapy; Reflections on Contemporary Theories and Practices.

Articles forthcoming or in preparation

  • Seu, I.B., Cameron, L., Weatherbed, S. The crushing of hopes – a psychosocial investigation of the experience and re-integration of CAAFAG in Nepal
  • Seu, I.B., Schwitthay, A. Impure humanitarianism? Understanding KIVA fellows through the ‘3M’ model of humanitarian connectedness.

Reports/Newspaper articles/Minor publications

Recent lectures

  • Helping distant sufferers; the role of ‘lived ideologies’ in public responses to humanitarian communications.2014 Annual Scientific Meeting of the International Society of Political Psychology (ISPP), Rome, Italy, July 4-7 2014
  • ‘The role of acknowledgement and denial in public passivity’Social Action and Change: Opportunities, Resistance, Inertia, and Mobilization. Biennial conference of The Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues (SPSSI). Portland, Oregon, USA, 27-29 June 2014
  • Moral boundaries and implicatory denial in public responses to human rights appeals’ Invited talk to the ‘International Human Rights Clinic’, School of Law, SOAS, University of London. 20 February 2014
  • Caring in Crisis? Communications and Public Reactions to Humanitarian Crises and International
  • Development Causes. End of Project Colloquium 7 June 2014, BISR, Birkbeck, University of London.
  • The Double edge sword; the dual role of psychoanalysis in public responses to human rights violations’ Keynote at the annual conference of the Society of Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, Bilbao, Spain, 16 June 2014
  • ‘Denial and human rights violations’ Keynote, Research seminar ‘Denialism and Human Rights’
    at Maastricht Centre for Human Rights, Maastricht University, The Netherlands, 18th June 2014.
  • Seu, I. B. (2013) ‘The deserving victim’; public responses to humanitarian communication in the UK’. Panel on ‘Audiences in the face of distant suffering; new challenges for old idea(l)s?.International Communication Association Annual Conference, London 17-21 June.
  • Seu, I. B. (2013) Denial and Human Rights violations. Invited talk at the Department of International Relations and Politics. Manchester Metropolitan University.
  • Cameron, L. and Seu, I. B. (2012) Landscapes of empathic understanding: Spatial metaphors and metonymies in responses to distant suffering. End of ESRC Project conference on ‘Living with Uncertainty’ 11th June 2012. London.
  • Seu, I. B. and Cameron, L. (2012) Empathic mutual positioning in conciliation work, presented at the ‘Empathy: Dynamics, Dialogue, Conflict’ Conference.
  • Seu, I. B. and Cameron, L. (2011) Empathic mutual positioning in reconciliation work. ‘Languages of Emotions’ Conference, Free University of Berlin, 21-22 November 2011.
  • Seu, I. B. (2011) Emotions, defences and denial in response to Human Rights abuses. ‘International NGOs’ Representations of Global Poverty and Development. Goldsmith College. 8th September 2011
  • Seu, I. B. and S. Orgad (2011) Mediated Humanitarian Knowledge: Audience response and moral action. Centre for Atrocities and Human Rights, LSE. 17 May 2011.
  • Seu, I.B. (2011) Emotions, defences and denial in response to Human Rights abuses. Centre for Psychosocial Studies, the University of the West of England. 30 March 2011
  • Seu, I.B. (2011) Emotions, defences and denial in response to Human Rights abuses. Representing Atrocity. Public lecture organized by the Centre for the Study of Human Rights. LSE 16 February 2011
  • Seu, I.B. (2011) Emotions, defences and denial in response to Human Rights abuses. Centre for Psychosocial Studies, the University of the West of England. 30 March 2011
  • Seu, I.B. (2011) Virtual Bystanders to Human rights abuses; a psychosocial analysis. In T. Cushman (ed.) International Handbook of Human Rights. Routledge

Media Appearances/Coverage of Research

Reviews

  • Sharratt, S. (2013) Gender, Shame and Sexual Violence; The voices of witnesses and court members at war crimes tribunals. European Journal of Women’s Studies.
  • Raphael-Leff, J. and R. Jozef Perelberg (1998) Female Experience. Three generations of British Women Psychoanalysts on Work with Women. Psychoanalytic Studies.

Grants and Awards

  • 2016-18: Testimonial Clinics in Brazil:Professional development programme for psychic recovery and tackling violence in democracy.(Sedes Sapientiea, Sao Paulo and Stephen Frosh and Bruna Seu, Dept of Psychosocial Studies) The Newton Fund. $59,513
  • 2016: How can we increase public understanding of and responsiveness to humanitarian needs? From a transactional to a relational model of connectedness with humanitarian causes. The British Academy (£41,170.00 - unsuccessful)
  • 2016: Being Human Festival 2016. £1,470 - unsuccesful
  • 2010 – 14: Mediated humanitarian knowledge, audiences' responses and moral actions. In collaboration with Dr S. Orgad and Prof. S. Cohen, LSE Research Grant submitted to The Leverhulme Trust (232,211.00, three years). Awarded
  • 2009: named collaborator on Dynamics of Empathy in conflict and reconciliation.(Grant holder: Prof. L. Cameron). ESRC; Living with uncertainty.
  • 2008: Moral Enterprise and Moral Response: The Production and Reception of Humanitarian Appeals. (In collaboration with). ESRC (£531,360.00). Alpha rated
  • 2008: Apathy towards Human Rights abuses; a comparative study (UK – SP; Phase II). The Nuffield Foundation. £8,272
  • 2002: Bystander Intervention in response to Human Rights campaigns; a UK/Spain comparative pilot study (Phase I).Faculty of Science Research Grant – Birkbeck £4,800
  • 2000: A multidisciplinary investigation of Bystanders and Human Rights abuses. The Leverhulme Trust £16,440
  • 1997: Public’s Response to Human Rights abuses – a Pilot study. BRIEF Award

Talks and Conference contributions

    Invited Plenaries and keynotes:

    2019

     

    Invited panellist at ‘Oxford Process’ roundtable: Addressing the Psychological dimensions of a peace process’. http://www.oxfordprocess.com

    Oxford: 9-11 July 2019

     

    Invited panellist Psychology in Mediation (2). Organised and sponsored by the Swiss Ambassador to the UK. 3 April 2019.

    2018

    Invited Panellist Challenging Denial; from slavery to the Holocaust. The Pears Institute for the study of antisemitism. Birkbeck, University of London 7 November 2017

  • Mark Galloway roundtable April 18
  • BOND presentation, April 18
  • Manchester event
  • BOND (plus working group )
  • Mark Galloway April 2018-
  • The Red Cross- 16th of November 2018
  • Invited panellist Psychology in Mediation (1). Organised and sponsored by the Swiss Ambassador to the UK. 13 November 2018
  • Keynote at the AAP - 1st of December 2018
  • 2017

    Bystanders to human rights violations. Keynote presentation.Testimonial Clinics and State Violence, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 6 April 2017

     

    The Trust virus: the future of giving. Invited panellist at the Cultural Capital Debates. Y&R, London, 9 February 2017

    2016

    Blocks in public responsiveness to humanitarian crises and development issues – challenges for NGOs. Keynote presentation at the Bloomsbury Humanitarian Debates - Challenges for NGOs. 26 October 2016. http://www.bbk.ac.uk/politics/about-us/events/bbk-local?uid=eed24659508743ebb6eab37d7577c876

    Guilt, pity and shame in humanitarian and human rights communications. Invited plenary atGuilt, Pity and Shame in Public Policy’ event, organized by the Dartington Centre for Social Research, Somerset House, London, 6 July 2016

     

    The crushing of hopes – a psychosocial investigation of the experience and reintegration of CAAFAG in Nepal. Invited plenary at the public event ‘State violence and clinical experience – Interventions with those affected by state violence: Brazilian and British experiences.’ (Collaboration funded by British Council/Newton Fund and Amnesty committee of Justice Department) 17 June 2016, Sao Paulo, Brazil

     

    Psychosocial denial in responses to human rights violations. AGIP (Association of Group and Individual Psychotherapy) London: 11 June 2016. Invited talk

     

    Bystanders, humanitarian communications and everyday morality Invited talk at ‘Imagining solidarity; visual representations of development in public campaigns’ Conference 18-20 May 2016, University of Manchester, organised jointly by the Global development institute of Manchester University and the Institute for International development, University of Sheffield

     

    Virtual bystanders to human rights violations and humanitarian crises; a psychosocial enquiry into denial and social responsibility. Invited talk at conference ‘A world in common? Group Analysis meets Psychosocial Studies’, Institute of Group Analysis, London 21 May 2016, organised by the Institute of Group Analysis and the Association for Psychosocial Studies

     

    2015

    ‘Big’ and ‘small’ stories: Complexity and ambivalence in people’s accounting for their passive response to knowledge of human rights violations. Invited talk Narrative, international politics and Psychology Conference, University of California Irvine Ethics Centre.  7-8 July 2015

    ‘Denial and Acknowledgment in public responses to information about human rights violations’ Keynote. International Conference on Denialism and Human Rights. Maastricht, 22-23 January 2015

     

    2014

    Moral boundaries, denial and ‘the Other’ in public responses to human rights appeals – implications for practice. Invited seminar; Centre for Advice and Wellbeing. London Metropolitan University. 15 December 2014

    ‘The Double edge sword’; the dual role of psychoanalysis in public responses to human rights violations’ Keynote at the annual conference of the Society of Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, Bilbao, Spain, 2014

    Knowing and not wanting to know; exploring the moral and psychological boundaries that distance us from suffering others. Invited seminar; BAOBAB Centre for Young Survivors in Exile lecture series 2014: “Denial, Bystanders and the Absence of Joined-up Thinking”. London, 23.10.14

    ‘Denial and human rights violations’ Keynote at the Research conference ‘Denialism and Human Rights’ at Maastricht Centre for Human Rights, Maastricht University, The Netherlands, 18th June 2014.

    Caring in Crisis? Communications and Public Reactions to Humanitarian Crises and International Development Causes Colloquium. 7 June 2014 http://www.bbk.ac.uk/lib/psychosocial/news/caring-in-crisis-a-bisr-colloquium-sat-7th-june

    Moral boundaries and implicatory denial in public responses to human rights appeals’ Invited seminar, the ‘International Human Rights Clinic’, School of Law, SOAS, University of London. 20 February 2014

    2013

    ‘The deserving victim’; public responses to humanitarian communication in the UK’. Panel on ‘Audiences in the face of distant suffering; new challenges for old idea(l)s?. International Communication Association Annual Conference, London 17-21 June.

    Denial and Human Rights violations. Invited talk at the Department of International Relations and Politics. Manchester Metropolitan University.

    Cameron, L. and I. B. Seu Landscapes of empathic understanding: Spatial metaphors and metonymies in responses to distant suffering. End of ESRC Project conference on ‘Living with Uncertainty’ 11th June 2012. London.

     

    2012

    Seu, I. B. and Cameron, L. Empathic mutual positioning in conciliation work, presented at the ‘Empathy: Dynamics, Dialogue, Conflict’ Conference.

     

    2011

    Seu, I. B. and Cameron, L. Empathic mutual positioning in reconciliation work. Invited talk ‘Languages of Emotions’ Conference, Free University of Berlin, 21-22 November 2011.

     

    Seu, I. B. Emotions, defences and denial in response to Human Rights abuses. Invited talk. ‘International NGOs’ Representations of Global Poverty and Development. Goldsmith College. 8th September 2011

     

    Seu, I. B. and S. Orgad Mediated Humanitarian Knowledge: Audience response and moral action. Centre for Atrocities and Human Rights, LSE. 17 May 2011.

     

    Seu, I. B. Emotions, defences and denial in response to Human Rights abuses. Centre for Psychosocial Studies, University of the West of England. 30 March 2011.

     

    Emotions, defences and denial in response to Human Rights abuses. Representing Atrocity. Public lecture organized by the Centre for the Study of Human Rights. LSE 16 February 2011 (podcast of event: http://www2.lse.ac.uk/newsAndMedia/videoAndAudio/channels/publicLecturesAndEvents/player.aspx?id=890.)

     

    2010

    Seu, I. B. (2010) ‘Shoot the messenger’: Denial, negative positioning and apathy in response to human rights and humanitarian appeals. Invited workshop for Red Cross and NGOs practitioners. ‘Funding the Red Cross Future’, Red Cross Annual Conference, 7-8 September 2011. Queen Mary, University of London.

     

    Seu, I. B. (2010) Respondent to Craig Calhoun ‘The Emergency Imaginary and the Future of Humanitarian Action’ organized by Dept of Media and Communications and POLIS. 13th May 2010. London School of Economics and Political Sciences.

     

    2009

    Seu, I. B. (2009) Donor fatigue?: Psychosocial factors in audiences’ responses to humanitarian appeals. 'Dispatches from disaster zones' event organized by the British Red Cross, 16th December 2009, The Royal Society.

     

    Seu, I. B. (2009) Doing denial: Justifications for unresponsiveness to Human Rights appeals. Psychology Department seminar, The Open University, 10th November 2009.

     

    Seu, I. B. (2009) A discursive analysis of resistance to empathy in Human Rights appeals. First meeting of the International Empathy Network. The Open University, 1st October 2009.

     

    Seu, I.B. (2009) On Bystanders. Panel on Victims, perpetrators, bystanders. “Responsibility to the Story” conference, Centre for Applied Human Rights, The University of York, 9-11 September 2009

     

    2008

    Seu, I.B. (2008) "Metaphorical bystanders: the mediation of distant suffering and audiences reception." Humanitarian Communication and campaigning. Polis, LSE, London

     

    Seu. I.B. (2008) In dialogue with Amnesty Scotland – feedback from Human Rights and moral apathy project. ESRC Workshop on Social Responsibility. University of St. Andrews. July 2008

    Seu, I.B. (2008) ‘Switching off? Emotional reactions to Media reports of Human Rights abuses’ BISR Autumn Colloquium: ‘Moving citizens: exploring worlds of emotional politics’.24 October 2008

    2007

    Seu,  I.B. (2007)  Doing denial; Justification for unresponsiveness to Human Rights appeals. Invited paper to ESRC Seminar on ‘Promoting Helping in emergencies’ Lancaster University, Sept 2007


    2002

    Seu I.B. (2002) Desensitisation and Human Rights abuses; defence mechanisms and rhetoric in talk about inaction. Human Frailty; Rights, Ethics and the search for global justice Human Frailty conference Bristol 5-6 September 2001


    Conference papers:

  • Humanitarianism and resilience. Manchester, May 18
  • Seu, I.B. (2017) Symbolic bystanders – a re-theorisation of the ‘helping subject’ in the global age. International Society for Theoretical Psychology Biennial Conference. 21-16 August 2017

    Seu. I.B. (2015) Encountering ‘the Other’ through humanitarian communications; the politics of distancing ourselves from distant suffering. International Society of Political Psychology Annual Conference. San Diego, 3-6 July 2015

    Seu, I.B. (2014) Bystanders to humanitarian crises: Moving towards new formulations in research on prosocial responses to distant suffering. 5th European conference of International Association of Social Science Research. St Petersburg 11-14 September 2014

    Seu, I.B. (2014) Helping distant sufferers; the role of ‘lived ideologies’ in public responses to humanitarian communications. Annual scientific meeting of the International Society of Political Psychology. Rome 4-7 July 2014

    Seu, I.B. The role of acknowledgement and denial in public passivity. 10th Biennal Conference of Society for Psychological Study of Social Issue – Social action and Change. Portland (USA) 27-29 June 2014

    Seu, I.B. and Orgad, S. Caring in Crisis? Communications and Public Reactions to Humanitarian Crises and International Development Causes. End of Project Colloqium 7th June 2014, BISR, Birkbeck, University of London. http://www.bbk.ac.uk/bisr/events/bbk-local?uid=d3c5b41958807b5dd3721638e99b3bbc

    Seu, I.B. (2013) ‘The deserving’; public responses to humanitarian communications in the UK.

    BPS Social Psychology Annual conference, Exeter, 28-31 August

    Seu, I.B and S. Orgad (2013) ‘Intimacy at a distance’ in humanitarian communication. IAMCR, Crisis Communication Working Group, June 2013.

    Seu, I.B and S. Orgad (2013) ‘People tie themselves up in knots, write whole PhDs about this… Does it really f***ing matter, actually?’: NGO communications producers’ relation to academic research(ers). Advancing Media Production Research conference, University of Leeds, 24 June 2013.

    Seu, I.B. (2012) Knowing and not knowing; implicatory denial and defence mechanisms in response to Human Rights abuses. Psychosocial Studies Conference, Institute of Education, London, 17-18 December 2012

    Seu, I.B. et al. (2012) ‘Caring in Crisis’; British audiences response to mediated humanitarian knowledge. ‘Humanity and Humanitarianism in crisis’. AAGS (Asian Association for Global Studies) annual conference. Tokyo, March 2012


    Seu, I.B. and S. Orgad (2011) ‘Minding the gaps: A critique of social sciences’ analyses of  humanitarianism’, presented at the Social Sciences Conference  11-13 July 2011, New Orleans, USA

    Seu, I.B. (2011) The anti-social nature of prosocial research ; a psychosocial critique.  International Society of Theoretical Psychology.  Thessaloniki, Greece

    Seu, I.B. (2008) Doing denial; justifications for unresponsiveness to Human Rights appeals. Interrogating Trauma; Arts and Media responses to Collective suffering Conference. Curtin and Murdock University, Perth, Australia. December 2008

    Seu I.B. (2003) Bystanders and Human Rights appeals: a critical reappraisal of the ‘Passive Bystander’ phenomenon. Social Psychology Section of BPS September 2003; LSE London

    Seu I.B. (2003) Psychology’s Contribution To Bystander Non-Intervention Istanbul 20th June 2003 International Society of Theoretical Psychology

    Seu I.B. (2001) Gender and Moral Choices: Discourses of apathy and empathy in the context of Human Rights abuses. BPS Centenary Annual Conference, 28-31 March 2001, Glasgow

    Seu I.B.  (1999) “Moral Apathy in Response to Human Rights Abuses”

    Critical Psychology and Action Research International Conference. 13-16 July 1999, Manchester Metropolitan University

    Seu I.B. (September 1998) A discursive analysis of the bystander’s psychology.

    BPS Social Psychology Section, 21-23 September 1998, University of Kent

    Seu I.B. and C. Heenan (1998) Feminist Psychotherapy; Controversial Issues in Training and Supervision. Presentation and discussion group at the Conference “Psychoanalysis and the Public Sphere”, 11th Conference; Symposium: “Pedagogy, Discourse and Practice” chaired by E. Burman and I. Parker. UEL London: 30-31 January 1998

    Seu, I.B. (1997) Advocacy and Clinical Practice. Chair of discussion groups

    And presentations at the Conference “Qualitative Research and Clinical Psychology: promoting interchange. University of Bangor, September 1997

    Seu I.B. (1997) Shameful women; Accounts of Withdrawal and Silence. Paper

    presented at the Symposium “The Feminist/Poststructuralist Controversy within Feminist Psychology” BPS Conference, Edinburgh, 4 April 1997

    Seu I.B. (1995) Women's Shame: a Feminist Discursive Account. BPS Annual Conference, April 1995, Warwick University.

    Seu I.B. (1995) Shame, Psychoanalytic Defences and Femininity. Association for Group and Individual Psychotherapy Conference: `Shame and other forms of attack on the Self' - London, July 1995.

    Seu, I.B. and Heenan C. (1995) Women in Analysis; Some Tension between Feminism and Psychotherapy. National Feminism and Psychotherapy Conference. University of Bristol, July 1995.

    Seu I.B. (1997) Changes and Theoretical Frameworks. Talk given at the Discourse Analysis Unit, Manchester Metropolitan University, 27 January 1997

     

  • Knowing and not wanting to know exploring the moral and psychological boundaries that distance us from suffering others. The Baobab Centre for young refugees and victims of torture. Oct 2014
  • Helping distant sufferers; the role of ‘lived ideologies’ in public responses to humanitarian communications.2014 Annual Scientific Meeting of the International Society of Political Psychology (ISPP), Rome, Italy, July 4-7 2014
  • ‘The role of acknowledgement and denial in public passivity’Social Action and Change: Opportunities, Resistance, Inertia, and Mobilization. Biennial conference of The Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues (SPSSI). Portland, Oregon, USA, 27-29 June 2014
  • Moral boundaries and implicatory denial in public responses to human rights appeals’ Invited talk to the ‘International Human Rights Clinic’, School of Law, SOAS, University of London. 20 February 2014
  • Caring in Crisis? Communications and Public Reactions to Humanitarian Crises and International Development Causes. End of Project Colloquium 7 June 2014, BISR, Birkbeck, University of London.http://www.bbk.ac.uk/bisr/events/bbk-local?uid=d3c5b41958807b5dd3721638e99b3bbc
  • The Double edge sword; the dual role of psychoanalysis in public responses to human rights violations’ Keynote at the annual conference of the Society of Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, Bilbao, Spain, 16 June 2014
  • ‘Denial and human rights violations’ Keynote, Research seminar ‘Denialism and Human Rights’
    at Maastricht Centre for Human Rights, Maastricht University, The Netherlands, 18th June 2014.
  • Seu, I. B. (2013) ‘The deserving victim’; public responses to humanitarian communication in the UK’. Panel on ‘Audiences in the face of distant suffering; new challenges for old idea(l)s?.International Communication Association Annual Conference, London 17-21 June.
  • Seu, I. B. (2013) Denial and Human Rights violations. Invited talk at the Department of International Relations and Politics. Manchester Metropolitan University.
  • Cameron, L. and Seu, I. B. (2012) Landscapes of empathic understanding: Spatial metaphors and metonymies in responses to distant suffering. End of ESRC Project conference on ‘Living with Uncertainty’ 11th June 2012. London.
  • Seu, I. B. and Cameron, L. (2012) Empathic mutual positioning in conciliation work, presented at the ‘Empathy: Dynamics, Dialogue, Conflict’ Conference.
  • Seu, I. B. and Cameron, L. (2011) Empathic mutual positioning in reconciliation work. ‘Languages of Emotions’ Conference, Free University of Berlin, 21-22 November 2011.
  • Seu, I. B. (2011) Emotions, defences and denial in response to Human Rights abuses. ‘International NGOs’ Representations of Global Poverty and Development. Goldsmith College. 8th September 2011
  • Seu, I. B. and S. Orgad (2011) Mediated Humanitarian Knowledge: Audience response and moral action. Centre for Atrocities and Human Rights, LSE. 17 May 2011.
  • Seu, I.B. (2011) Emotions, defences and denial in response to Human Rights abuses. Centre for Psychosocial Studies, the University of the West of England. 30 March 2011
  • Seu, I.B. (2011) Emotions, defences and denial in response to Human Rights abuses. Representing Atrocity. Public lecture organized by the Centre for the Study of Human Rights. LSE 16 February 2011
  • Seu, I.B. (2010) Respondent to Craig Calhoun ‘The Emergency Imaginary and the Future of Humanitarian Action’ organized by Dept of Media and Communications and POLIS. 13th May 2010. London School of Economics and Political Sciences
  • Seu, I.B. (2009) Why help; Psychosocial factors in audiences’ responses to humanitarian appeals. “Dispatches from disaster zones” event organized by the British Red Cross, 16th December 2009, The Royal Society
  • Seu, I.B. (2009) Doing denial; justifications for unresponsiveness to Human Rights appeals. Psychology Department seminar, The Open University, 10th November 2009
  • Seu, I.B. (2009) A discursive analysis of resistance to empathy in Human Rights appeals. The first meeting of the International Empathy Network. The Open University, 1st October 2009
  • Seu, I.B. (2009) On Bystanders. Panel on Victims, perpetrators, bystanders. “Responsibility to the Story” conference, Centre for Applied Human Rights, The University of York, 9-11 September 2009
  • Seu, I.B. (2008) Doing denial; justifications for unresponsiveness to Human Rights appeals. Interrogating Trauma; Arts and Media responses to Collective suffering Conference. Curtin and Murdock University, Perth, Australia. December 2008
  • Seu, I.B. (2008) ‘Switching off? Emotional reactions to Media reports of Human Rights abuses’ BISR Autumn Colloquium: ‘Moving citizens: exploring worlds of emotional politics’.24 October 2008
  • Seu, I.B. (2008) "Metaphorical bystanders: the mediation of distant suffering and audiences reception." Humanitarian Communication and campaigning Seminar Series. Polis, LSE, London. November 2008
  • Seu. I.B. (2008) In dialogue with Amnesty Scotland – feedback from Human Rights and moral apathy project. ESRC Workshop on Social Responsibility. University of St. Andrews. July 2008
  • Seu I.B. (2007) Doing denial; Justification for unresponsiveness to Human Rights appeals. Invited paper to ESRC Seminar on ‘Promoting Helping in emergencies’ Lancaster University, Sept 2007

Research

  • My main research interests, grouped under the four broadly defined areas listed below, reflect my multidisciplinary background and expertise (Honours degree in Philosophy, MA and PhD in Psychology, UKCP Registered Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist), my intellectual interest in Western culture and values, and political commitment to feminism and the attainment of a just society.
  • These concerns fuel my overall interest in epistemological debates around the ontological and epistemological status of knowledge in social sciences in contemporary western society and how these debates are affected by post-structuralism, psychoanalysis and feminism.
  • Connected to these is my commitment to developing and applying qualitative research methods, in particular, Grounded Theory and Discourse Analysis, to the investigation of social phenomena.
  • 1. Human Rights, social responsibility and helping behaviour.
  • For some years I have researched public responses to mediated news of Human Rights abuses, both in the UK and Spain, thanks to the support of a Leverhulme Foundation Fellowship and Birkbeck College Research grants. With time, these have evolved into an interest in the related issues of moral and social responsibility; prosocial behaviour; moral boundaries and discursive constructions of the ‘Other’. I have used a psychosocial approach in bringing together psychological work on altruism, psycho-social understanding of denial as well as psychodynamic and discursive readings of emotional responses. I have published on these subjects in Psychological and Human Rights journals.
  • 2. Gender
  • I am particularly interested in exploring how current social constructions of femininity and gender affect women’s lives. In particular, I have conducted in-depth feminist qualitative research into women's experience of shame and critically explored socio-psychological and psychoanalytic theories of femininity, mainly through a social constructionist/discursive approach.
  • 3. Psychoanalysis
  • My interest in psychoanalysis is two-fold. I am concerned with psychoanalysis both as a body of theory that has greatly affected the way we understand human behaviour and motivation and as a clinical technique.
  • As far as the latter is concerned, in my writing, I have investigated the complex relation between feminism and psychoanalysis, particularly in clinical practice.
  • I am also interested in applying psychoanalytic ideas to the understanding of social phenomena, in particular, oppression, discrimination and bystander behaviour.
  • My critical interest in psychoanalytic theory and practice on the one hand and gender issues on the other has been further developed in ‘Feminism and Psychotherapy; Reflections on Contemporary Theories and Practices’ (Sage, 1998), co-edited with C. Heenan and in the edited book "Who am I? The ego and the self in psychoanalysis" (Rebus Press/Taylor and Francis 2000).
  • 4. Discursive analyses and psychoanalytic readings of text
  • The substantive interests listed above have found best methodological expression in discursive analyses and psychoanalytic readings of text. I am currently working on the complementarities and potential benefits of bringing together these epistemologically different readings of text, in grappling with the complexities of subjectivity and power dynamics.
  •  

Contact details

Room 502B, 30 Russell Square
Department of Psychosocial Studies
Birkbeck College, University of London
London
WC1B 5DT

Tel: +44 (0)20 7 631 6539
Email: b.seu@bbk.ac.uk