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Title: Listening to the Language of Place: Comparing Aboriginal and El Salvadoran refugee experiences of place and belonging in Coffs Harbour
Contributor(s): Swain, Jennifer Ann (author); Wilton, Janis  (supervisor); Somerville, Margaret Jean (supervisor); Mackay, Frances (supervisor)
Conferred Date: 2008
Copyright Date: 2008
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Abstract: My place-based, oral history research explores the ways people from two seemingly disparate cultures and experiences seek a sense of belonging to place after displacement. This research rests on the narratives of an urban Aboriginal man and an El Salvadoran refugee family. It reflects on similarities and differences, connections and disconnections, that exist between cultures and among the narrators themselves, as I search for reasons why some are able to achieve a state of well-being, a belonging to place, while others cannot. Using an interactive and reflective approach within a qualitative framework, my own story becomes intermingled with those of my narrators, firstly as friends, and then through our quest to find a place in which to belong. And so, there are not two, but three different cultures in this research: The Aboriginal man, the El Salvadoran family, and the Anglo-Celtic-Australian researcher. The overarching themes of place and displacement, along with belonging culture and identity, emerge through the stories. Despite variation, I am sensitive to the ways in which the experiences in the lives of one participant are so often echoed by another, connecting them through purpose, place and time, and through their past and present histories. Through the layered meanings that lie within the stories, I observe the pleasures and the struggles that become visible, and consider the many changes that occur in my participants’ lives over the period of my research. These changes become apparent in the affirming of senses of identity in some cases, and in their, and my, recognition of the degree to which we all belong, or do not belong, in places after displacement. I have offered reasons for these variations, some of which are motivational, some historical, and all highly individual.
Publication Type: Thesis Doctoral
Field of Research Codes: 160303 Migration
160403 Social and Cultural Geography
160104 Social and Cultural Anthropology
Rights Statement: Copyright 2008 - Jennifer Ann Swain
HERDC Category Description: T2 Thesis - Doctorate by Research
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