Understanding and coping with immigration detention: social identity as cure and curse

Kellezi, B. ORCID: 0000-0003-4825-3624, Bowe, M. ORCID: 0000-0002-0491-1472, Wakefield, J.R.H. ORCID: 0000-0001-9155-9683, McNamara, N. ORCID: 0000-0003-3123-3678 and Bosworth, M., 2019. Understanding and coping with immigration detention: social identity as cure and curse. European Journal of Social Psychology, 49 (2), pp. 333-351. ISSN 0046-2772

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Over 29,000 foreign nationals are detained yearly in British Immigration Removal Centres (IRCs) for undefined periods. This study investigated the role played by social identities in the way detainees are affected by, make sense of, and deal with detention. An opportunity sample of 40 detainees were interviewed on topics including support, identity, and well-being, and data were analysed using theoretical thematic analysis. Participants struggled with loss of social networks, loss of rights, loss of agency and joining a stigmatised group. Social identities guided exchange of support, aided meaning-making, and mitigated distrust, serving as 'Social Cures'. However, shared identities could also be sources of burden, ostracism, and distress, serving as 'Social Curses'. Inability to maintain existing identities or create new ones fuelled feelings of isolation. Participants also reported rejection/avoidance of social identities to maximise their benefits. This study is the first to apply the Social Identity Approach to the experience of immigration detention.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: European Journal of Social Psychology
Creators: Kellezi, B., Bowe, M., Wakefield, J.R.H., McNamara, N. and Bosworth, M.
Publisher: John Wiley
Date: 2019
Volume: 49
Number: 2
ISSN: 0046-2772
Divisions: Schools > School of Social Sciences
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 11 Sep 2018 10:15
Last Modified: 28 Feb 2020 16:27
URI: https://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/34471

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