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There's No-Place Like Home: emotional geographies of researching 'race' and refuge provision in Britain

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Abstract:

In this article we draw on feminist and psychodynamic theory to discuss processes of researching service provision for minoritised women escaping domestic violence. Our aim is to take seriously the ways particular contexts, in this case as produced by the process of researching this topic, elicit specific responses. In particular we offer some conceptual tools for analysing the emotions generated in these geographies. Taking the 'space' of the research team as our focus, we analyse how culturally defined meanings of 'home', community and refuge that were the focus of our research topic also functioned as a lens through which tensions and dynamics within the project team could be understood. Just as secrecy, silence and shame figured in our participants' accounts, so they circulated between the team. Drawing on the motifs of the intersection of 'space' and 'place' (as they occur within discourses and practices around domestic violence and minoritisation) as well as the psychodynamic notions of 'mirroring' and 'parallel process', we consider the extent to which the combined racialised, gendered and institutional relationships structuring the research team constituted it as a 'non-place'. This is because it was a space produced by the research process which, other than this, had no acknowledged tradition of history or memory to anchor it. We discuss how this space functioned paradoxically to foster creativity and innovation in generating discourses and practices working across difference, as well as inevitably at times recapitulating prevailing power (including racialised) relationships. We end by evaluating the usefulness of such concepts for wider analyses of intercultural and antiracist feminist practice.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0966369042000258695

Publication date: January 1, 2004

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