Uncertain Futures: Perceptions of Refugees in a Story Completion Task

Parker, Samuel and Earnshaw, Deborah and Penn, Emma and Kumari, Roshni (2023) Uncertain Futures: Perceptions of Refugees in a Story Completion Task. Qualitative Research Journal. ISSN 1443-9883

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In recent years the movement of refugees has led to increasing negative media and political discourse about migration in the UK, particularly as the number of refugees crossing the English Channel has increased. Despite this hostility, little is known about how the UK public perceive the journeys made by refugees or the refugees themselves.

In this study we used a Story Completion method to analyse perceptions and understandings of refugees. Participants were given the opening of a story about refugees crossing the English Channel and were asked to complete the remainder of the story. In total 84 participants completed stories that ranged in length from two to 423 words. The stories were analysed using reflexive thematic analysis.

Each of the completed stories was analysed using reflexive thematic analysis and three themes were generated: Conflicting emotions: Uncertainty and the relief of reaching safety after a traumatic journey; The spectre of illegality: borders and the uncertainty of what happens next; and Welcome or unwelcome?: Cultural values of welcome and hospitality.

We argue that this original use of the Story Completion method highlights how participants draw on cultural narratives of hospitality and welcome and that their stories are constructed using emotional categories that are in contrast to the more binary constructions of refugees that are present in media and government discourse about refugees and the English Channel crossings.

Item Type: Article
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1108/QRJ-11-2022-0145
1 June 2023Accepted
23 June 2023Published Online
Uncontrolled Keywords: refugees, asylum seekers, story completion, perceptions, English channel, migration
Subjects: CAH04 - psychology > CAH04-01 - psychology > CAH04-01-05 - others in psychology
Divisions: Faculty of Business, Law and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences > Dept. Psychology
Depositing User: Samuel Parker
Date Deposited: 28 Jun 2023 11:39
Last Modified: 28 Jun 2023 11:39
URI: https://www.open-access.bcu.ac.uk/id/eprint/14518

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