Morton Weinfeld – Ethnic Match in Health and Social Services: Pros and Cons (ASI 2014)

Ethnic match is an approach to the provision of public services in various policy domains, in societies marked with significant ethnic, racial, or religious diversity. Minority recipients of services may be matched with professionals of the same background, receive services in ethnospecific agencies, or receive a type of service which is sensitive to the specific minority culture at
issue. This paper explores the evidence that deals with the issue of ethnic match in the provision of mental health care, looking mainly at literature from the fields of psychiatry and psychology, including therapists with backgrounds in social work or counseling. A review of the literature reveals no clear pattern of benefits—or harms—from these various practices for the recipients of service in this particular policy domain. Implications for education, training, and practice will be explored.

Ghayda Hassan – The Québec Charter of Values and the Future of Living Together in Québec (ASI 2014)

This two-arm mixed-method study assessed the discourse around the Quebec Charter and its impact on the future of living together in Quebec. The first study used a qualitative design to thematically and critically analyze discourses around the Charter and hate-based events/discourses targeting minorities and published in official media. Results show that positions tend to be polarised and use an ideological discourse based on overlapping of religion and gender equality with an underlying association of religion with extremism and terrorism, thus targeting mainly Muslim communities and more specifically, veiled women. The second study consisted of a web survey filled by a targeted sample of 200 university students measuring discrimination, identity, psychological wellbeing and perception of intercommunity relations. Data collection is underway and analyses will consist of multiple regression predictive models.

Natacha Premand – Black Sheep and Mass Immigration: The Use of Caricature in Rejection of the “Other” (ASI 2014)

In recent years, right-wing political parties in Switzerland have initiated several referenda on issues pertaining to the admission and residency of foreigners. In this paper, I will examine the ways in which the “other” is constructed in the political discourse of Switzerland’s Union Démocratique du Centre, one of the instigators of these referenda. I will argue that the image of foreigners in official discourse as important contributors to Swiss society and the economy is successfully undermined by their depiction by the right wing as “black sheep” – literally so in one controversial but effective advertising campaign. By also associating negative characteristics with particular ethnic groups, the right seeks to elicit fear and rejection. This contributes to establishing negative connotations with respect to all foreigners or minority groups, regardless of any explicit or specific voicing of concerns. In response to these campaigns, the United Nations’ Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination has recommended that the Swiss Federal Commission on Racism be given more independence from government and be empowered to regulate the media and political
discourse. The paper attempts to better define the space created by these campaigns as a site of impact on the mental health of foreign populations and minority groups that has been neglected and is in need of urgent study.

Roberto Lewis-Fernández on the Cultural Formulation Interview

“What should we know about you that contextualizes you and understands you from a cultural lens?”

Roberto Lewis-Fernández, Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at Columbia University talks about the Cultural Formulation Interview (CFI): what are its uses, is it only for use with people from a cultural minority, and how can practitioners learn to use it?

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