PhD researcher or student information
Contact email: email@example.com
Degrees BA: BSc in Psychology, MSc in Educational Sciences
PhD idea information
Brief description:Is There Such a Thing as a ‘Refugee Condition’?
Methodology:Through my involvement in the write-up of the handbook Psychosocial dimensions of the refugee condition: A Synergic Approach, I have become familiar with the theoretical framework of Professor Renos Papadopoulos. One of his central notions is that, much like every phenomenon, the refugee phenomenon is characterized by its own complexity, uniqueness and totality and also that the interventionists themselves are part of this condition to an equal extent. Following this approach, which Papadopoulos has termed synergic, presupposes as inevitable the need to first of all search for the particular and unique complexity, uniqueness, and totality of the respective refugee condition. His conceptual framework is based around the dislocated’ admirable potential for resilience, as well as what he terms adversity-activated development. These occur simultaneously with weak facets, meaning that a person is simultaneously traumatized, resilient and strengthened (with regards to different parts of their being subject to change) by various different aspects of their current and past wellbeing. It is intelligible that complexity is comprised not only by refugees, but also by those who work with/for them, as well as the context in which these parties “meet”. It is also comprehensible, though not self-evident, that the uniqueness of the refugee condition must be prevalent and must find a way to spring out every time that a “meeting” takes place, as well as that every person perceives and experiences this condition in their own unique ways, and certainly in ways that are subject to changes over time. Finally, it is comprehensible that when we make reference to totality what we mean is the recognition of the Other within the sum of their ‘humanness’ and not only their ‘refugeeness’. I strongly believe in the formation of a multidisciplinary perspective investigating the perils of vulnerability and how its institutionalization is bringing all actors involved in paradoxical predicaments. I would love to find a way to combine my recent background within refugee mental health with the interest to do ethnographic fieldwork which places people’s voices in the centre (or at the very least considers these voices) and actually relates to their lived experience rather than our assumptions for it. Ideally, this would involve a qualitative as well as quantitative exploration of i)the number of refugees that would consider themselves vulnerable, ii)the extent to which they attribute vulnerability as a positive/negative characteristic with regards to their current wellbeing, iii) professionals’ stance on vulnerability’s instrumentalization, iv) a sincere examination by institutions concerned with policy making with regards to how much damage and how much ‘good’ is really done through existing asylum policies. That said, a number of questions I would like to explore within the context of a potential project are: - Can we say what we ‘provide’ is protection? Is the definition that has been given to protection (at least its tacit acceptance) in the refugee phenomenon fundamentally flawed? Can there be such thing as protection in a camp? -How can we better identify the relationships between concepts such as the aforementioned complexity, the instrumentalization of vulnerability, and victimhood? As electing to take a victim identity to increase one’s chances of securing their basic human rights is standard practice, and the vast majority of asylum applications are rejected, are we led into a bleak future where people are fiercely competing for vulnerability marks? Anyone who has been made to leave their home is a victim; what is an effective way (from a policy standpoint) to witness and acknowledge people’s pain, without forcing them to narrate their painful stories to numerous institutions repeatedly? -From the side of the displaced people themselves, how different could things be if they adhered to their condition as a protective legal status and unique moral condition* ? If they saw refugeeness as a matter of becoming, as a trait rather than as a stigma, as a process towards a future worth looking forward to? And so, if there are refugees who conceptualize their situation in this manner, what resources have they employed in order to do so? Are there ways for them to teach/communicate this?
Keywords: asylum policies, intégration, Vulnerability
Potential language(s) of writing: English, Greek