Ethno-cultural empathy can be defined as feeling, understanding, and caring about what someone from another culture feels, understands, and cares about (Ekelund, 2011), while denial is one of the human defense mechanisms used to ignore or refuse to believe, perceive, and acknowledge a frustrating, uncomfortable, or forbidden reality (Freud, 1950; Cohen, 2001) such as xenophobia and racism. We suggest that in contemporary group relations between hosts and immigrants, the dynamics of these two notions determine the quality of their relationships.
We conducted a qualitative study in Brazil in the state of Sao Paulo with Brazilians on their relations to contemporary immigrants in the country. This study shows us that the surface discourse on receptivity of Brazilians as a nation with a historical vocation of immigrants is much more complex than it seems on the façade. Indeed, it reveals an intense dynamics of these two opposite phenomena-the practice of ethno-cultural empathy and the denial of xenophobia, and will present a dichotomy-based categorization extracted from the collected narratives.
|Keywords:||Empathy, Denial, Immigration, Discourse, Brazil|
Post-doctoral Researcher, Population Studies Center, University of Campinas, Campinas, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Assistant Professor, Department of Demography , Population Studies Center, University of Campinas, Campinas, Sao Paulo, Brazil