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.
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.