From refugee to good citizen: a discourse analysis of volunteering


Yap, Su Yin, Byrne, A and Davidson, S. 2011. From refugee to good citizen: a discourse analysis of volunteering. Journal of Refugee Studies. 24 (1), pp. 157-170.
AuthorsYap, Su Yin, Byrne, A and Davidson, S.

This paper is concerned with how refugees who work as volunteers with a
refugee organization talk about themselves and their work. A Foucauldian
Discourse Analytic approach is employed in order to explore how participants
construct themselves as both refugees and volunteers, the discourses they draw
on, and how this impacts on the possible ways-of-being open to refugees. The
findings indicate a meta discourse of good citizen; volunteering was constructed
as a technology of self, a way of transforming the refugee into a ‘good citizen’.
Volunteering was also seen as a way of preparing for entry into the labour
market and a means of self-improvement.

Keywordsrefugees; Foucauldian discourse analysis; volunteering
JournalJournal of Refugee Studies
Journal citation24 (1), pp. 157-170
PublisherOxford University Press
Accepted author manuscript
Web address (URL)
Publication dates
Online27 Nov 2010
Print01 Mar 2011
Publication process dates
Deposited02 Nov 2012
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