Medicalizing Ethnicity

Author: Vilma Santiago-Irizarry
Publisher: Cornell University Press
ISBN: 0801487528
Size: 18.28 MB
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In Medicalizing Ethnicity, Vilma Santiago-Irizarry shows how commendable intentions can produce unintended consequences. Santiago-Irizarry conducted ethnographic fieldwork in three bilingual, bicultural psychiatric programs for Latino patients at public mental health facilities in New York City. The introduction of "cultural sensitivity" in mental health clinics, she concludes, led doctors to construct essentialized, composite versions of Latino ethnicity in their drive to treat mental illness with sensitivity. The author demonstrates that stressing Latino differences when dealing with patients resulted not in empowerment, as intended, but in the reassertion of Anglo-American standards of behavior in the guise of psychiatric categories by which Latino culture was negatively defined. For instance, doctors routinely translated their patients' beliefs in the Latino religious traditions of espiritismo and Santeria into psychiatric terms, thus treating these beliefs as pathologies.Interpreting mental health care through the framework of culture and politics has potent effects on the understanding of "normality" toward which such care aspires. At the core of Medicalizing Ethnicity is the very definition of multiculturalism used by a variety of institutional settings in an attempt to mandate equality."

Migrants In Translation

Author: Cristiana Giordano
Publisher: Univ of California Press
ISBN: 9780520958869
Size: 10.94 MB
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Migrants in Translation is an ethnographic reflection on foreign migration, mental health, and cultural translation in Italy. Its larger context is Europe and the rapid shifts in cultural and political identities that are negotiated between cultural affinity and a multicultural, multiracial Europe. The issue of migration and cultural difference figures as central in the process of forming diverse yet unified European identities. In this context, legal and illegal foreigners—mostly from Eastern Europe and Northern and Sub-Saharan Africa—are often portrayed as a threat to national and supranational identities, security, cultural foundations, and religious values. This book addresses the legal, therapeutic, and moral techniques of recognition and cultural translation that emerge in response to these social uncertainties. In particular, Migrants in Translation focuses on Italian ethno-psychiatry as an emerging technique that provides culturally appropriate therapeutic services exclusively to migrants, political refugees, and victims of torture and trafficking. Cristiana Giordano argues that ethno-psychiatry’s focus on cultural identifications as therapeutic—inasmuch as it complies with current political desires for diversity and multiculturalism—also provides a radical critique of psychiatric, legal, and moral categories of inclusion, and allows for a rethinking of the politics of recognition.