PhD – University of Copenhagen

Mille Kirstine Bygballe Keis

Mille Kirstine Bygballe Keis

PhD fellow, external

Current research

I am interested in how research on psychological trauma intersects with the rise of resilience-thinking and how the turn to resilience affects ideas about personhood, agency and vulnerability. In my PhD project, I examine how within positive psychology resilience is promoted as an antidote to a host of problems, including depression in school children and mental health problems of US soldiers. In my project, I ask “what does resilience do?”, a question that propels me to examine how positive psychology promote certain techniques for living well, and how resilience is being appropriated to promote certain life choices – as opposed to others. I trace these developments by looking at self-help literature on resilience and resilience-training in the US military, and I analyze the tensions between this approach to resilience and theories and personal testimonies about trauma and its aftermaths. For example, the current focus on resilience stresses building character, will-power and positive attitude, but ignores important insights from trauma studies regarding the limits of will-power and disciplinary approaches to suffering.

My project is part of a larger research program, “The New Psychology of War,” that explores the changing relation between psychological science and war. The program is based at the Danish Institute for International Studies and is directed by Johannes Lang and Robin May Schott.

ID: 32356807