This book uses gendered stories of displacement and re-settlement to interrogate our understanding of social suffering and justice. Parin Dossa, an anthropologist, argues that systemic inequity and exclusionary practices impact the health and well-being of marginalized people.
Using narrative accounts of Canadian Iranian women, this book links individual experiences of migration to social and political factors. Dossa challenges conventional thinking that interprets social suffering in terms of personal stake and individual accountability. She questions the ways in which racialized and gendered inequality in Canada are perceived as cultural differences instead of social oppression.
Yet this book is far from a laundry list of social determinants of migration and health. Dossa's illustrative stories are linked to a poetics of migration that shows the remaking of a world with a more informed sense of social justice. A pioneering study on migration and storytelling, this book is an important contribution to medical anthropology, migration and gender studies.
Chapter 1: Introduction: Epistemology and Methodology
Chapter 2: Authored and Unauthored Texts
Chapter 3: Being a Refugee in Canada: Sultan’s Story
Chapter 4: Looking for Work: Nadia’s Story
Chapter 5: Between Speech and Silence: Sahra’s Story
Chapter 6: On Social Suffering: Fatima’s Story
Conclusion: Re-imagining Mental Health and Well-being
Parin Dossa is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Simon Fraser University, British Columbia. She is the co-producer of two videos, New Voices: Ethnic Elders in Canada and Out of the Shadows: Narratives of Women with Development Disabilities, and has written extensively on migration, gender, and health.
"Parin Dossa's analysis cuts like a laser to expose the political sources of suffering for women refugees from Iran. She demonstrates how meaningful occupations and arenas for struggle are stripped away from immigrant women by inadequate settlement policies in cash-strapped First World host countries. These systems isolate the women, and then cast their resulting depression as 'mental illness.' With unrelenting insight and compassion, Dossa offers a highly sophisticated critical feminist ethnography that is accessible and moving as she works with new narrative approaches to raise discomfiting questions. The interrogation is skillful and deft, driven by the trenchant insight that the First World itself bears responsibility for producing refugees such as those whose voices are heard in this book."
Dr. Gelya Frank, Professor of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy & Anthropology, University of Southern California
"Dr. Dossa combines excellence in scholarship and sensitivity in this elegantly written book. She draws upon the voices of women to provide powerful insights into the texture of social suffering. This should be required reading for students in the health and social sciences."
Dr. Joan Anderson, Professor of Nursing and Elizabeth Kenny McCann Professor, University of British Columbia
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