Tobie NATHAN : The rebel’s legacy. The role of Georges Devereux in the birth of clinical ethnopsychiatry in France

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The author first explores the characteristics of France’s psychological and psychiatric treatment of immigrant populations. He notes that, in immigration countries, the massive arrival of immigrants has always led to the appearance of disciplines bridging anthropology and psychopathology. After a vivid description of Georges Devereux, his way of thinking and teaching, he shows how ethnopsychiatry, by directing certain theoretical questions towards psychiatry and psychoanalysis, has allowed the development of a specific therapeutic setting characterized by all forms of translation. He explains how this type of practice also paved the way for a new conctructivistic conceptualization of therapy. In the final part of his article, the author offers to define ethnopsychiatry as a clinical discipline taking as its object the study of all therapeutic systems, viewed as systems of objects ; all therapeutic systems, without exception nor hierarchy, whether they claim to be  » scholarly  » or to belong to a specific collective or community – ethnic, religious or social. He also defines it as a practice which considers that therapists’ theories are of concern primarily to patients ; a practice interested in engaging the latter in a contradictory debate.

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