Cultural Anxieties is a gripping ethnography about Centre Minkowska, a transcultural psychiatry clinic in Paris, France. From her unique position as both observer and staff member, anthropologist Stéphanie Larchanché explores the challenges of providing non-stigmatizing mental healthcare to migrants. In particular, she documents how restrictive immigration policies, limited resources, and social anxieties about the “other” combine to constrain the work of state social and health service providers who refer migrants to the clinic and who tend to frame "migrant suffering" as a problem of integration that requires cultural expertise to address. In this context, Larchanché describes how staff members at Minkowska struggle to promote cultural competence, which offers a culturally and linguistically sensitive approach to care while simultaneously addressing the broader structural factors that impact migrants’ mental health. Ultimately, Larchanché identifies practical routes for improving caregiving practices and promoting hospitality—including professional training, action research, and advocacy.
About the Author
Stéphanie Larchanché is the research and studies department coordinator at Centre Minkowska in Paris, and a lecturer at Université Paris Descartes and Sigmund Freud University. She lives in Saint Denis, France.
“Stéphanie Larchanché’s Cultural Anxieties is a timely and compelling account not only of contemporary French politics of mental health, difference, and migration, but also of a broad and pervasive sense of anxious living which informs and shape the institutional practices of care and cure in many Western liberal democracies. Larchanché is particularly well positioned – both as a medical anthropologist and as a therapist – to reflect upon the work of anxiety within and outside clinical settings, providing an important ethnography of the contemporary.”
— Cristiana Giordano
"Cultural Anxieties offers a nuanced, thoughtful and engaged anthropological look at the management of cultural difference in a country where universalism is the national ideology. Taking the transcultural psychiatry clinic as a laboratory and a site of contestation, Larchanché refuses easy critiques, instead drawing attention to the difficult work of everyday care, and how it can build a politics of hospitality in the face of racism, injustice and inequality."
— Miriam Ticktin
"Cultural Anxieties provides rich food for thought on a range of topics, but its greatest contribution lies in the book’s nuanced analysis of the distinctive approach to “cultural competence” undergirding Centre Minkowska’s work. A timely, fascinating, and vitally important ethnography that elegantly captures the heart of Centre Minkowska’s ethos as well as its distinct approach to cultural competence." — EuropeNow