Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Culture, Resilience, and Adaptation: The Voices of Rwandan and Congolese Refugees
by Stratton, Michelle Diane, Ph.D., Pacifica Graduate Institute, 2016, 245; 10242194
Abstract (Summary)

This research explores the experience of displacement and resettlement for Rwandan and Congolese refugees in New Hampshire, highlighting cultural perspectives and values that contribute to psychosocial resilience and a restored sense of well-being in these communities. Participants elaborated on their childhood experiences of culture, the disruptions of war and displacement, and their experience of resettlement and adjustment to life in the United States. The research considers the cultural perspectives and values that have contributed to well-being within African refugee communities, and that can generate a sense of stability as refugees negotiate cultural expectations in new homes. The research also considers intercultural relationships and relationships of psychosocial accompaniment. Phenomenological and ethnographic methodologies were used to gather and analyze data through the lens of liberation psychology and depth psychology. Decolonizing methodologies, including a commitment to reflexive practice and psychosocial accompaniment, were also integrated. Data was gathered through semi-formal interviews, focus groups, observations, and researcher field notes. Rarely are refugees invited by resettlement researchers to reflect on patterns of repair, restoration, and the generation of culturally informed adaptations. Participants in this study reveal their experience of culture, overlooked challenges, and the creative adaptations that generate possibilities for success and restored balance in families and communities. The research offers an approach to engaging cultural communities in responding to the challenge of resettlement with integrity, while drawing on resilience and familiar cultural patterns.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Watkins, Mary
Commitee: Kamya, Hugo, Stevens, Maurice
School: Pacifica Graduate Institute
Department: Depth Psychology
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 78/05(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Social psychology, Psychology
Keywords: Congolese, Culture, Refugee resettlement, Resilience, Rwandan, Well-being
Publication Number: 10242194
ISBN: 978-1-369-36186-5
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