Dialogues in Philosophy
Mental and Neuro Sciences

Dialogues in Philosophy, Mental and Neuro Sciences

The official journal of Crossing Dialogues
Volume 11, Issue 2 (December 2018)

Ethnopsychoanalysis, a clinic of borders
From the uncanny to transitional affects
Ludovica Grassi
Psychoanalysis and migration share the quality of being movements towards the other, the unknown and the stranger, thereby originating anxiety. Both of them fit Freud’s (1919) statement that the most upsetting unknown is marked by familiarity, because of the fading boundaries implicated in psychic as well as geographical motions. Psychic primal processes are involved in migration too, through dislocation of the narcissistic contract and catastrophic changes which
support the view of migration as a new birth.
In migration experience, affects such as nostalgia, shame, hope, and betrayal can be defined transitional because they involve the whole somato-psychic and relational functioning, and give specific and complex configurations to space and time: though often painful, they possess a structuring potential, and entail a developed and preserved ability to mourn and carry out psychic work.
Two clinical cases of migrating families with adolescent kids illustrate the operation of transitional affects and the psychic sequences of their impossible unfolding. The spatial and temporal components of such affects sustain their mobilizing, transforming and symbolizing potential, that opposes to predominance of repetition, stiff ening and sealing of boundaries or space fragmentation when the unbinding functioning prevails.

boundaries, migration, otherness, transitional affects, uncanny, unconscious
Dial Phil Ment Neuro Sci 2018; 11(2): 72-83
Received on November 03, 2018
Accepted on November 05, 2018
Firstly published online on February 16, 2019