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Our Relations to Refugees: Between Compassion and Dehumanization.

Our Relations to Refugees: Between Compassion and Dehumanization. Am J Psychoanal. 2017 Oct 30;: Authors: Varvin S Abstract After the so-called refugee crisis of 2015-2016 European reactions to foreigners had come to the fore and we are seeing xenophobic political and populist movements become increasingly mainstream. The massive rejection of refugees/asylum seekers taking place has made their conditions before, during and after flight, increasingly difficult and dangerous. This paper relates current xenophobia to historical attitudinal trends in Europe regarding Islam, and claims that a much more basic conflict is at work: the one between anti-modernism/traditionalism and modernism/globalization. Narratives on refugees often relate them to both the foreign (Islam) and to "trauma". In an environment of insecurity and collective anxiety, refugees may represent something alien and frightening but also fascinating. I will argue that current concepts and theories about "trauma" or "the person with trauma" are insufficient to understand the complexity of the refugee predicament. Due to individual and collective countertransference reactions, the word "trauma" tends to lose its theoretical anchoring and becomes an object of projection for un-nameable anxieties. This disturbs relations to refugees at both societal and clinical levels and lays the groundwork for the poor conditions that they are currently experiencing. His...
Source: American Journal of Psychoanalysis - Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: Tags: Am J Psychoanal Source Type: research

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