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Folie et immigration en Argentine entre le XIX e et le XX e siècles Volume 83, issue 9, novembre 2007

Author
Professeur adjoint d’histoire de la psychologie (Université de Buenos Aires), Chercheur (Conicet, Argentine), Calle 65 n° 1089, La Plata 1900, Buenos Aires, Argentine

Madness and immigration in Argentina between the 19th and 20th centuries.In the construction of modern Argentina, immigration played a fundamental role that is briefly outlined in this work. From the end of the 19th century, though, phenomena linked to immigration were persistently associated with marginality, inaptness and pathology. After an initial idealisation, which lasted over 100 years, the different figures of the foreigner were attached to multi-facetted images of madness. Thus the very humanist and philanthropic ideals which, on the one hand, succeeded in integrating millions of persons, on the other, in disciplines concerned with mental illness, frequently gave rise to theories advocating segregation. We therefore examine first the relationship between immigration and madness in psychiatric discourse between roughly 1880 and 1930. Then we examine a more recent case, which dates back to the 1960s. Despite theoretical references having changed, the result was the similar: the construction of a stereotype according to which the foreigner was a priori a pathological case.