A Senegalese Odyssey: migration and Mental Health in Catalonia, Spain

Project: Research project

Project Details


This project examines the meaning of mental health discourse for non-European Union (EU) migrants in Catalonia, Spain, specifically Senegalese men in the province of Barcelona. With unemployment at record highs in Spain, non-EU migrants face new challenges obtaining or maintaining a residency permit since these are contingent on the existence of formal job contracts. The trajectory toward a documented future inevitably leads migrants to local institutions where their stories of social, political and economic hardship are reframed according to institutional templates or “scripts,” many of which draw from an implicit mental health framework. The emergence and popularization of the so-called “Ulysses Syndrome” in the early 2000’s has become a recognizable framework available to both migrants and institutional personnel struggling to secure increasingly scarce resources. By tracing the circulation of the Ulysses Syndrome, on the one hand, and the lived experiences of Senegalese migrants, on the other, my project explores how medical discourse mediates local interactions in a time of widespread austerity and recession.
Effective start/end date11/1/1310/31/14


  • Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research (AGMT-GR.8685)


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