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Advocacy and the Magdalene Laundries: towards a psychology of social change

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This article will describe how a project documenting interviews with survivors of Ireland’s Magdalene Laundries explores the relationship between psychology and advocacy. The Waterford Memories Project focuses on documenting survivor narratives both for subsequent qualitative analysis and a publicly accessible record of the women’s experiences about events, which remain silenced and hidden in Irish society. The process of documenting the women’s narratives is, in itself, an action toward social change because it challenges the lacuna of information and data available from the Irish Government and Religious Orders. The archives of the Laundries are heavily restricted, and the women’s voices suppressed, which has implications for the ability of survivors to integrate their experiences of violence into personal narratives. In this project, an action-approached focus to psychological research with the survivors of the Magdalene Laundries provides strong evidence for the suitability of applying psychological methods to social and moral issues.
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Keywords: Engagement; Magdalene Laundries; advocacy; narratives; social change

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Waterford Institute of Technology, Department of Applied Arts, College Street, Waterford, Ireland

Publication date: October 2, 2018

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