Exploring staff and service users' constructions of a community organisation working with refugee people in London

Prof Doc Thesis

Russon, C. E. 2008. Exploring staff and service users' constructions of a community organisation working with refugee people in London. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London School of Psychology
AuthorsRusson, C. E.
TypeProf Doc Thesis

Refugee people and the community organisations (COs) that work with them have
been constructed within and by a variety of legal, social and political contexts within
the UK in ways which have shaped their lives and work. Common constructions of
refugee people as pathologised or threatening; and of COs as representative,
integrative and also lacking have warranted a variety of social practices both
comprising and governing the work of COs, and which have both empowering and
disempowering effects for them and their service users.
Despite the centralisation of COs in service delivery for refugee people, there is little
research about them, and few accounts have either focussed on how they work or
drawn on the perspectives of staff and service users of COs themselves. This study is
an exploration of staff and service users' constructions of a CO working with refugee
people in London. Nine people who were either staff or service users of a counsellingbased
CO were interviewed and these interviews were analysed using discourse
analysis drawing on the work of Foucault (e.g. 1961, 1977) and Malson (1998).
Analysis of these interviews led to the identification of three main constructions of the
work of the CO. These were 'Therapy 'under erasure'; 'Language and culture as
currency' and 'Negotiating restrictions on agency'. Each of these constructions is
discussed, together with the social practices warranted and actions made possible by
them. Implications for power and agency are also addressed. In the final section, an
evaluation of the research and its implications are presented.

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Deposited30 Jun 2014
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