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From psychic exile to geographical exile

Abstract : This text aims to rethink the question of exile and how we approach the other whom we call “the foreigner” without either denying or fetishizing his or her difference. Based on clinical experience, it highlights the way in which psychic exile is revived through geographical exile, which raises, for each individual, the question of “the foreign” both within and outside ourselves. The author argues that this psychic exile is linked to the original separation inherent to all human beings that is re-actualised whenever a boundary is crossed, whenever we are displaced – whether it is in relinquishment, mourning or geographical migration. The upheaval these crossings cause requires a work of symbolisation that necessarily draws on our specific cultural frameworks. However, what about those people who have precisely been forced to leave the world of their language, its myths and cultural references? In fact, through the gap introduced by his or her difference, the encounter with a person from another cultural background highlights the difficulty of thinking about the connections between the singular and the collective, between psyche and culture. In this way, the present article opens up the complex questions faced by clinicians working with displaced people and confronted with linguistic and cultural difference. Its theoretical orientation is psychoanalytic and anthropological.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, January 27, 2021 - 9:07:36 AM
Last modification on : Tuesday, October 19, 2021 - 10:50:23 PM

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Rajaa Stitou. From psychic exile to geographical exile. Psychoanalytic Psychology, American Psychological Association, 2021, ⟨10.1037/pap0000333⟩. ⟨hal-03122443⟩

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