18A - Health & Well Being University of Warwick, Monash University South Africa, and University of Leeds
Psychedelic drugs have caused controversy in nearly every area of Western life, from the time they first emerged in modern discourse up until the present day. They represent wildly different things to different people: some see them, along with other drugs, as “public enemy number one”, while others see them as powerful facilitators of profound psychological healing and “spiritual emergence”. This research will use the method of discourse analysis to unpack and examine some of the most prominent narratives around psychedelics, and it will draw upon Michel Foucault’s ideas about state power, subjectivity, and ‘the care of the self’ in the hopes of presenting an alternative to the mainstream theorisations of these contentious chemicals.
In the process, we will delve into the mystical experiences and ritual practises which surround their use; review the recent neuroscientific literature which has attempted to empirically observe their effects in the brain; and explore the many questions and conundrums which are thrown up by reports of people who have taken them. We will also reassess the historical narratives surrounding their use within the counter-cultural movement and their subsequent prohibition as part of the “war on drugs”. These are exemplified in the life of Timothy Leary, whose numerous antics during the 1960s and 1970s led President Nixon to brand him “the most dangerous man in America”, and whose infamous catchphrase is quoted in the title of this presentation.
Ultimately, this research hopes to present an argument for the careful use of psychedelic drugs, depicting them as a revolutionary set of political and spiritual tools which may aid us in the creative re-production of our subjective identities, and help us to move toward a more caring and less controlling world.
Health systems play a very important role when it comes to health delivery. A health system is one that has a primary purpose which is to promote, maintain and restore the health of the people (Muyanga, 2017). The aim of this research is to examine whether the South African health system is doing enough to meet the health needs of the people and whether there are health service inequalities between the public and private sector. A qualitative content analysis of secondary sources was examined whereby evidence showed that in the year 2012, South Africa proved to have poor health quality services being provided to inpatients and outpatients (Peltzer & Phaswana- Mafuya, 2012). Health care responsiveness showed to be higher in the private sector as compared to the public sector (Peltzer & Phaswana- Mafuya, 2012). By further examining secondary sources, it was found that in response to the poor performance of the public sector in South Africa, the health system implemented strategies such as the Health Sector Strategic Framework, the National Health Act of 2003 and the Student Legislation that obliged students to work in the public sector for a year after graduation. The most current strategy is the National Health Insurance (NHI) which is still in the process of implementation. In conclusion, there still are huge gaps between the public sector as well as the private sector of healthcare despite the strategies that have been implemented. Therefore, a question we should be asking ourselves is "Is the NHI our answer to these healthcare inequalities?"
Inducing neuroplasticity as a treatment for neuropsychological disorders is not adequately understood. Previous studies have utilised Theta Burst Stimulation (TBS) in the motor cortex (stroke) and in the prefrontal cortex (cognitive decline). However, inducing neuroplasticity via TBS in the Posterior Parietal Cortex (PPC), involved in motor and cognitive functioning, is poorly understood. Therefore, inhibitory (continuous) and excitatory (intermittent) TBS was administered to the right and left PPC across 4 sessions, 1 week apart, to twenty healthy undergraduates (aged 18-22) in a single blind, 2 (Continuous/Intermittent TBS) x 2 (Left/Right PPC) design, across a range of cognitive tasks, with eye (EyeLink 1000) or button box recordings taken. Reaction time and/or accuracy were measured before and after stimulation. Results showed no effects of stimulation, or sham stimulation, indicating the direction of plasticity did not inform resultant behavior, and was not due to learning effects. However, performance changes did reveal hemisphere and task differences. Inhibition data demonstrated an interaction between stimulation and trial, and between stimulation and hemisphere on prosaccade trials. Further, SLT data showed a marginally significant interaction between stimulation and hemisphere. Finally, N-Back data showed a novel interaction between condition and hemisphere, with increasing task difficulty. Further research must examine the role of TBS in mediating cognitive function, and individual differences to stimulation. Furthermore, additional research is needed into the function/laterality of the PPC. Increasing knowledge of TBS effects on cognitive function has ramifications for the treatment of neuropsychological disorders, such as stroke and depression.
Health behaviour change research involves investigating a constellation of psychological factors that may affect the health behaviours in which people engage. A vast amount of research has been published since the last systematic review of the literature 25 years ago. Working in collaboration with the authors of the previous review, members of the University of Leeds health and social group hope to illuminate what we have learned from this body of new research in a hope that it will develop both clinical practice and academic understanding of the key determinants of health behaviour change. Whilst work is still ongoing, this session will discuss the review's purpose, methodology, past and current challenges and future implications.
18B - Political Issues University of Warwick, University of Leeds, and Baruch College, City University of New York
As conflict continues to engulf parts of the Middle East and North Africa, the discourse relating to Libya has often been overshadowed by events in Syria and Iraq. Yet, since 2011, the country has remained fraught by violence. For policymakers to push Libya's warring factions towards national reconciliation, it is vitally important to understand how Libya descended into civil war. Equally, it is crucial that the consequences of NATO's intervention in Libya in 2011 serve as a cautionary tale in the cost of liberal interventionism. My research asks two questions: to what extent was the initial intervention in Libya a 'success', and why in its aftermath did Libya develop into a failed state?
Using reports by human rights organisations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, alongside news bulletins, my research considers the failures of intelligence by the pro-interventionist powers in the threat level to the population of Benghazi, which formed the crux of the humanitarian argument to intervene. It explores the political alternatives to military intervention, which were ignored by the international community in favour of regime change. Finally, the research focuses on the struggles of post-Gaddafi Libya, questioning if Libya's political collapse was foreseeable or if the pro-interventionists are guilty of inadequate post-war planning. It will be concluded that the lack of a centralised security apparatus gave rise to the proliferation of Qadhafi's weapons stockpiles and left justice and political policy in the hands of the militias, who were co-opted into the establishment.
Rosendorffen and Sandler (2004) suggest that indiscriminate counter-terror (CT) policies increase terrorism by leaving innocent members of the targeted community aggrieved, making them more susceptible to the appeals of terrorist organisations. In this study I empirically test their assertion using Israeli indiscriminate CT policies deployed in the Occupied Palestinian Territories as a case study. Using data obtained by B’Tselem (an Israeli based human rights organisation) and the Israeli Defence Force, I investigate three separate Israeli indiscriminate measures deployed in the Occupied Palestinian Territories: precautionary house demolitions; comprehensive closure days; and the military detention or minors. This study overcomes the simultaneous causality problem faced by previous papers by exploiting Tel-Aviv 125 stock price data as an indirect measure of terrorism to establish a causal relationship between terrorism and indiscriminate CT policies. Since the stock market responds to the expectation of terrorism, one can expect stock prices to increase as efficient CT measures are deployed, and decrease when inefficient measures are deployed. If indiscriminate CT polices are counter-productive, this should be reflected by a decrease in Tel-Aviv 125 stock prices. In the case of precautionary house demolitions and comprehensive closure days, both indiscriminate CT policies that are carried out in public, I find a long-run decrease in stock prices, implying a long-run increase in terrorism. However, this relationship does not hold for the policy of child military detentions, perhaps because detentions, unlike the demolitions and closure days, are ordered in secret, so potential increases in terrorism generated by grievances might not materialise since the population does not know they are being targeted, suggesting that indiscriminate CT policies more broadly, prove counterproductive if conducted in public.
In 2016, China officially launched the One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative. The mega-project stretches from the edge of East Asia all the way to East Africa and Central Europe, and it will impact a lengthy list of over 65 countries that counts for 62& of the world's population and 40% of the worldâ€™s GDP. While many observers have devoted efforts to understand what is OBOR and what it does, the political risks that affect the implementation of the project deserve equal examination.
The project attempts to investigate the political risks facing the initiative, particularly touching upon the cross-border issues that inevitably give rise to legal issues. The project focuses specifically on the disputed territories between China and India through which part of the physical infrastructure of the OBOR initiative passes, and discusses potential approaches to resolve these disputes.
The project primarily applies qualitative research method to collect and analyze information sourcing from scholarly publications, official documents, and international & domestic mainstream news media. The project will also include conclusions derived from interviews.
Both India and China are nuclear-armed, any unconventional approach will end up affecting both parties severely. It is preferably to de-escalate current tensions and come up with a workable solution and restore the peace.