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  • In the strictest sense Enlightenment means the cultural movement of philosophical origins that spread through Europe after the beginning of the 18th Century until the French revolution and that is characterised by trust in reason and its clarifying power. In French it is âge des lumières, in Italian Illuminismo, in German Aufklärung: in all languages incorporates the metaphor of light and clarification.
  • Many of the conflicts or mass violence of recent decades have been characterised by the adjective “ethnic”. This means that the leading players were groups opposing one another on the basis of identitarian, religious, linguistic or more generally cultural assertions.
  • Ethno-psychiatry and ethno-psychology experiment the paths to be followed so as to address the cultural differences within the disciplinary wisdom and practices (western) of psychiatry and psychology. It is not possible here to fully report on the complexity and fascination of these processes. We will simply present two aspects experienced by Tobie Nathan, a professor at the Paris VIII University and director of the Devereaux Centre providing psychiatric care for immigrants mostly coming from central Africa.
  • While empathy breaks down the barriers of borders, ethnocentrism – the supposed superiority of one’s own cultural world – is addressed at strengthening them, and if possible, at raising new ones. Ethnocentrism is universally widespread and often relatively innocuous: almost all human societies consider themselves as the most successful of the species; in some cases the fully human characteristics of other groups are even questioned.