Immigrants and Refugees: Subjective and Territorial Displacements at the Interface between Desire and Politics

By Miriam Debieux Rosa

The issue of immigration and refuge, in its cultural, subjective and political aspects, has emerged as a priority theme in many fields of study and is even asserting itself in the electoral political agenda of many countries, including Brazil. The arrival of large numbers of immigrants has generated social and political tensions, especially due to the intensification of segregation and the encouragement of border closures. The importance of immigration in social construction, as an encounter with otherness through other cultures and languages, is neglected in this process. This article highlights three aspects of our research on immigrants and refugees in the city of São Paulo (Brazil): (i) on the one hand, the political incitement to hatred towards immigrant, and the way in which this hatred impacts the subject and reinforces his socio-political suffering and discursive distress (Hilflosigkeit); (ii) on the other hand, the interfaces between territorial and psychic displacements, which, in the metaphorical and metonymic processes, situate the locus of the symptom and of desire. These processes, articulated to the political place, define modalities of territorialization or alienated assimilations. Finally, these processes reveal the contribution of the immigrant to contemporary challenges, including the necessary construction of a coexistence with otherness and difference.

  • immigration
  • displacement
  • political psychoanalysis
  • sociopolitical suffering
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