Collective resistance as a means to healing. A narrative participatory study with sexual minority refugee & asylum-seeking people

Spyridon Papadopoulos, Maria Castro Romero, Joanna Semlyen

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The number of people in exile is rising. Sexual and ethnic minority refugee and asylum-seeking people present with special needs. This study utilised a collective narrative participatory design to explore how storying collective ways of resisting the effects of trauma, amongst gay and lesbian forced migrant people of Black African and Asian backgrounds in an urban context (London, UK) can be constitutive of healing. To do this, purposeful sampling procedures were pursued. Data collection was through individual and group format story telling sessions. Both sessions were structured around a co-constructed metaphor “Passport of Life”. Narrative analysis was employed to examine the data, co-shaped with participants. Findings indicate that participants’ (collective) storytelling is crafted as a site for resistances to emerge and be re-affirmed. Resistance pathways are inextricably linked to participants’ diverse subjectivities. Healing is constituted as a dynamic process, bound by narrated and physical configurations of spaces of togetherness, which have re-definitional, hope-inducing, and social justice properties. The results support the use of participatory and narrative means for expanding (untold) stories of overcoming and supporting opportunities for healing and redress amongst this population. Implications for policy making, research, and psychological practice are considered.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPsychology & Sexuality
Early online date18 Oct 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 Oct 2023

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