Category Archives: psychology

Salman Akhtar, Immigration and Identity (1999)

Akhtar_Immigration_and_Identity_1999Salman Akhtar, Immigration and Identity (1999)

Akhtar gives a surface level overview of immigration specific psycho-analytical therapy. The core of Identity problems for immigrants lies in the cultural and social separation and individuation process, that causes responses of loss and idealization, depending if the immigration occurred voluntary or was forced. The psychological response should be one of rapprochement.

Akhtar in general does a very nice job in sketching the main issues in immigration psychology. He oversteps his own rule of cultural neutrality only where he feels compelled to distinguish between western and eastern culture. Notibly, Akhtar is of eastern descend, so it’s no surprise he characterizes the eastern psyche as a mind of heart and love, while describing the western mind as the mind of time and money. This distinction is not only obviously placing Akhtar in the position of patient instead of analyst, but is also so blatant that it instantly makes one doubt his analytical capacity. In the end, I choose to oversee this pillar of his therapeutical theory, because the rest of his book is fairly solid, although not particularly shocking in insight.

His insertions of his own poetry are a little bit unprofessional, but that too I can oversee and find in a childish way entertaining, though by all means, they have no place in an academic publication, and I would have to disqualify the book as being a non-scientific work for those last two criticisms. Still, it will offer any immigrant a few basic insights into the psychology of immigration, and is an entertaining work.