The Invention of the Immigrant: Belgian Psychiatry Faced with North African Immigration in the 1960s–70s

Social and Sanitary Vulnerabilities
By Benoît Majerus, Julie Richel

This paper mingles both the history of immigration and the history of psychiatry by examining the ways in which a part of the medical field contributed to the making of the “immigrant” in Belgium in the 1960s-70s. Using medical reports as its basis, it seeks to stress that the dominant understanding was formulated in cultural terms. The concept of culture served as a basic concept that enabled to articulate several differences uneasily grasped by psychiatrists. Culture may serve to analyze family role models and conflicts, to explain the conflicts emerging between emigration and immigration countries, and to express the existing incomprehension between psychiatrist and patient.


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