Immigration panics, borders and eating disorders

Abstract

This paper maps some dynamics of eating disorders against those of recent panics about immigration and current calls for greater border and immigration controls. Building on psychoanalytic thinking about extremism and racism, the paper concentrates on particular ways in which the rhetoric and underlying anxieties around immigration have strong links with anorexic ideation. It posits that interchange across boundaries is important for health in both the economy and the individual and that, while rational argument about immigration levels is possible, extreme views in the contemporary US, UK and Europe are fuelled largely by irrational elements which can best be understood using psychoanalytic ideas.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References

  1. Anzieu, D. (1985) Le Moi-peau. Paris: Dunod.

    Google Scholar 

  2. Bollas, C. (1993) The fascist state of mind. In: C. Bollas (ed.) Being a Character. London: Routledge, pp. 193–217.

    Google Scholar 

  3. Bruch, H. (1974) Eating Disorders: Obesity, Anorexia Nervosa and the Person Within. London: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  4. Dalal, F. (2002) Race, Colour and the Processes of Racialisation: New Perspectives from Group Analysis, Psychoanalysis and Sociology. Hove: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  5. Davids, F. (2011) Internal Racism: A Psychoanalytic Approach to Race and Difference. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

    Google Scholar 

  6. Duffy, B. and Frere-Smith T. (2014) Perception and Reality: Public Attitudes to Immigration. London: Ipsos Mori. https://www.ipsos.com/sites/default/files/publication/1970-01/sri-perceptions-and-reality-immigration-report-2013.pdf, accessed 11 January 2020.

  7. Freud, S. (1913) Totem and Taboo. Standard Edition 13. London: Hogarth Press, pp. 1–161.

  8. Freud, S. (1931) Civilisation and its Discontents. Standard Edition 21. London: Hogarth Press, pp. 64–145.

  9. Friedman, M. (1997) The case for free trade. Hoover Digest 4.

  10. Harvey, D. (2007) Neoliberalism as creative destruction. The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 610(1): 21–44. http://www.jstor.org/stable/25097888, accessed 14 December 2019.

  11. Hinshelwood, R. (2006) Racism. Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy 20(2): 84–96.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Hyslop, F. (2018) Migration policy. Discussion paper: External Affairs Directorate, 7 February.

  13. Kegerreis, S. (2013) ‘When I can come on time I’ll be ready to finish’; Meanings of lateness in psychoanalytic psychotherapy. British Journal of Psychotherapy 29(4): 449–465.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Keval, N. (2015) The racial ‘other’: Hatred or curiosity? CPS Marginalisation Conference, Essex University, November.

  15. Koenigsberg, R. (1985) The Psychoanalysis of Racism, Revolution and Nationalism. New York: Library of Social Science.

    Google Scholar 

  16. Krugman, P. (1993) The narrow and broad arguments for free trade. American Economic Review, Papers and Proceedings 83(3): 362–366.

    Google Scholar 

  17. Lawrence, M. (2008) The Anorexic Mind. London: Tavistock.

    Google Scholar 

  18. Mankiw, N. (2015) Economists actually agree on this: The wisdom of free trade. New York Times, 24 April.

  19. Miller, E.J. and Rice, A.K. (1967) Systems of Organization: The Control of Task and Sentient Boundaries. London: Tavistock Publications.

    Google Scholar 

  20. Orbach, S. (1978) Fat is a Feminist Issue. London: Arrow Books.

    Google Scholar 

  21. Ricardo, D. (1817) On the Principles of Political Economy and Taxation. London: John Murray.

    Google Scholar 

  22. Richards, B. (2017) A response to Robert M. Young’s ‘fundamentalism and terrorism’. Free Associations 71(December): 86–88.

    Google Scholar 

  23. Richards, B. (2018) Exploring malignancies: Narcissism and paranoia today. Psychoanalysis, Culture and Society 23(1): 15–27.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Rosenfeld, H. (1971) The clinical approach to the psycho-analytical theory of the life and death instincts: An investigation into the aggressive aspects of narcissism. International Journal of Psychoanalysis 52(2): 169–178.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  25. Royal Geographical Society with IBG (2008) UK migration controversies: A simple guide. https://www.rgs.org/CMSPages/GetFile.aspx?nodeguid=840de1f6-0de8-4f0c-a0c3-ddcb250e3286&lang=en-GB, accessed 9 January 2020.

  26. Rusbridger, R. (1986) Observations on a case of bulimia. Journal of Child Psychotherapy 12(2): 5–28.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  27. Rustin, M. (1992) The Good Society and the Inner World. London: Verso.

    Google Scholar 

  28. Temple, N. (2006) Totalitarianism – The internal world and the political mind. Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy 20(2): 105–114.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  29. Weintrobe, S. (2013) Engaging with Climate Change. Hove: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  30. Wieland, C. (2015) The Fascist State of Mind and the Manufacturing of Masculinity. Hove: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  31. Williams, G. (1997) Internal Landscapes and Foreign Bodies. London: Tavistock.

    Google Scholar 

  32. Winston, A. (2018) An island entire of itself: Narcissism in anorexia nervosa. In: T. Wooldridge (ed.) Psychoanalytic Treatment of Eating Disorders: When Words Fail and Bodies Speak. Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 70–82.

    Google Scholar 

  33. Woodman, M. (1988) Addiction to Perfection: The Still Unravished Bride: A Psychological Study. Toronto: Inner City Books.

    Google Scholar 

  34. Wooldridge, T. (2014) The enigma of Ana: A psychoanalytic exploration of pro-anorexia internet forums. Journal of Infant, Child, and Adolescent Psychotherapy 13(3): 202–216.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  35. Yates, C. (2015) The Play of Political Culture, Emotion and Identity. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

    Google Scholar 

  36. Yates, C. (2018) On the psychodynamics of Boris Johnson and Brexit. New Associations 25(Summer): 4–5.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Sue Kegerreis.

Additional information

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Kegerreis, S. Immigration panics, borders and eating disorders. Psychoanal Cult Soc 25, 155–173 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1057/s41282-020-00164-7

Download citation

Keywords

  • immigration
  • racism
  • borders
  • control
  • eating disorders
  • anorexia