Cultural homelessness: a challenge to theory and practice [conference item]

Henderson, David (2015) Cultural homelessness: a challenge to theory and practice [conference item]. In: 3rd European Conference on Analytical Psychology: Encounters, Traditions, Developments: Analysis at the Cultural Crossroads, 27-30 Aug 2015, Trieste, Italy. . [Conference or Workshop Item]


This paper explores the experience of culturally homeless persons, who have lived in multiple cultural frameworks before the age of 14. They “live in a framework that may include experiences, feelings, and thoughts that do not belong to any specific cultural reference group… they lack a cultural home. They may experience a strong yearning to ‘go home,’ but home is no one place.” The notions of hybridity or migration do not adequately describe this situation. Deleuze’s theory of rhythm and chaos throws light on the experience of a person who is out of sync with the host culture.

What challenges does this mode of being pose to psychoanalytic theory and practice? A therapist who is working with a normative theory of psychological development, attachment, psychopathology, psychic structure or the analytic process is in danger of failing to recognize a fundamental aspect of these persons’ lives. The therapist may be tempted to diagnose the patient as borderline, an as-if personality, psychotic, autistic, or even multiple personality disorder. While there may well be aspects of the personality that are consonant with these descriptions, these diagnoses may constitute a category mistake. As Jung observes, “the patient’s difficulty consists precisely in the fact that his individual problem cannot be fitted without friction into a collective norm; it requires a solution of an individual conflict if the whole of his personality is to remain viable. No rational solution can do justice to this task, and there is absolutely no collective norm that could replace an individual solution without loss.”

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Research Areas: A. > School of Science and Technology > Psychology > Centre for Psychoanalysis
Item ID: 17432
Useful Links:
Depositing User: David Henderson
Date Deposited: 02 Sep 2015 09:15
Last Modified: 13 Oct 2016 14:36

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