The Cultural and Social Reasons Behind Paris Syndrome
Paris Syndrome, a temporary disorder afflicting some visitors to Paris, is mostly attributed to culture shock. Patients exhibit various psychotic symptoms, anxiety, and psychosomatic dizziness and it effects Japanese citizens more readily than people from other parts of the world (Wyatt, 2009).
Idealized thoughts of Paris are sometimes the basis for visitors being psychologically destabilized when visiting (Timami, 1998). The popular image of Paris is often not easily reconciled with the reality of it, and so the unreality of a visit there may be the first step in what causes people to have Paris Syndrome.
The language barrier is another issue that contributes to this disorder. The French language is full of idioms that are used on a regular basis. But these idioms do not carry the same meaning when translated to other languages. This causes further feelings of being unreal and dissociated. This may be an explanation for the particular susceptibility of Japanese visitors, since the Japanese language is so much more vastly different from the French language than are many other languages (Timami, 1998).
But the most notable cultural situation that causes this disorder is the level of formality, or lack of said formality, that is common in France. In the French understanding it is common and acceptable to have many, varied, and quickly modified moods and attitudes. This is difficult for visitors to understand, especially if that come from a culture that is less expressive. Again, this is a reason that the Japanese might be more commonly afflicted with Paris Syndrome (Wyatt, 2008).
Wyatt, Caroline (2009). “Mastering French Manners, The Hard Way”. BBC News. Retrieved November 4, 2009.
Tamami, Katada (1998). “Reflexions on a Case of Paris Syndrome”. Journal of the Nissei Hospital (Science Links Japan) 26 (2): 127–132.
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