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Author's School

Graduate School of Arts & Sciences

Author's School

Graduate School of Arts & Sciences

Author's Department/Program


Author's Department/Program



English (en)

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Chair and Committee

Carolyn Sargent


This dissertation looks at "specialized" mental healthcare expertise in France as a lens through which to address the institutional management and representations of cultural difference in France today. By "specialized" mental healthcare centers, I refer structures that provide culturally-sensitive mental health services to immigrants specifically. I identify and explore three contemporary expert approaches: namely, transcultural psychiatry, clinical medical anthropology, and ethnoclinical mediation. By providing a genealogy of specialized mental healthcare institutions, and by construing them as "meta-discursive nodes"--that is, as points of encounter between state, institutional, and individual ideologies--I provide an analysis of the cultural anxieties, contradictions and double-binds that arise from the opposition between a regulative, universalist republican ideology, and a field of expertise which strives to promote culturally-sensitive mental healthcare for immigrants. I argue that, as a product of the conflation of the "immigrant issue": la question immigrée) and the "social issue": la question sociale), "immigrant suffering": Sayad, 2004) has become a medium that problematically couches immigrants' "difficulties"-- whether they relate to mental health pathology or structural problems--in terms of cultural difference. As a result, generic cultural representations of immigrants are uncritically reproduced, making it difficult to identify and address the structural inequalities that do engender suffering.



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