The price of absence: Latin American psychiatry in the wider world

Renato D. Alarcón



Globalization, a phenomenon nourished by massive migrations and increasingly complex technological advances, creates challenges to individual and collective identities, to the cultural texture of world regions and continents, and to their scientific expressions, among them medicine and psychiatry. After briefly describing the historical routes of Latin-American psychiatry, this article examines the work of some of its most distinguished figures and their contributions in areas such as social psychiatry, psychoanalysis, neurobiology and others. A focus on the visibility and acceptance of Latin-American contributions to the world psychiatry scene is based on the study of Impact Factor figures of publications, recognition and participation of Latin-American psychiatrists in international organizations and events, collaborative participation in research projects, etc. It is concluded that such visibility is modest, reasons for this and the reactions of the Latin-American psychiatric community in the face of it are examined. Finally, suggestions and management strategies aimed at reaffirming the value and quality of such contributions in the academic, heuristic and clinical fields, are formulated.


Globalization; cultural identity; Latin-American psychiatry; psychiatric research; psychiatric education