David Dupuis | PhD, Research Fellow at Inserm (IRIS/EHESS).

Research Fellow at Inserm

I conduct research at the intersection of psychedelic studies, mental health anthropology, and transcultural psychiatry. My research primarily focuses on the contemporary reconfigurations of the social status of substances commonly referred to as "hallucinogens" or "psychedelics" and experiences categorized by medicine as "hallucinatory." I explore the cultural, political, and ethical implications of these dynamics within Euro-American and Amazonian societies. My work is grounded in ethnographic inquiries conducted since 2008 in Latin America (Peruvian Amazon, Mexico) and Europe (UK, France).

I earned my doctorate at EHESS/Laboratoire d'Anthropologie Sociale (Paris) under the supervision of Professor Philippe Descola in 2016. Subsequently, I worked as a postdoctoral researcher at Durham University (UK) and later at the Quai Branly Museum (Paris). My doctoral research, supported by an 18-month fieldwork in the Upper Peruvian Amazon, focused on an "Amazonian shamanic center." These institutions, which have recently multiplied in the region, offer practices inspired by indigenous shamanism, such as the ritual use of ayahuasca, to an international clientele. My work centered on understanding the dynamics through which cultural knowledge, symbolic frameworks, and interactional/discursive contexts shape the psychedelic experience. By examining the stakes of this "socialization of hallucinations" in the reconfiguration of identity and the formation of social group dynamics, I explored its implications for cultural transmission and therapeutic efficacy.

Subsequently, my investigations fall into two main categories: 1) The globalization of psychedelic use through the rise of shamanic tourism in Latin America and clinical studies on these substances in Euro-American societies; 2) The contemporary requalification of the social status of so-called "hallucinatory" experiences under the influence of psychiatric user movements such as the Hearing Voices Movement.

Through my participation in ALIUS (an interdisciplinary research group dedicated to the study of consciousness diversity that I co-founded) and the Hearing the Voice program (Durham University), I integrate my work into an interdisciplinary dialogue involving history, religious studies, psychology, psychiatry, and neuroscience. I also serve as a scientific consultant for clinical and experimental studies involving the use of psychedelics. In these collaborations, I exercise a critical practice of interdisciplinarity, questioning, from an anthropological perspective, the growing role of neurocentrism in the understanding of human experience.


Ethnopsychiatry, transcultural psychiatry, and mental health anthropology; Psychedelic studies; Anthropology of consciousness: Amazonian ethnology; Science and Technology Studies (STS)