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"Every time she bends over she pulls up her thong"

Teen Girls Negotiating Discourses of Competitive, Heterosexualized Aggression

Jessica Ringrose

In this paper I explore the themes of heterosexualized competition and aggression in Avril Lavigne's music video Girlfriend (2007) as representative of the violent heterosexualized politics within which girls are incited to compete in contemporary schooling and popular culture. I argue that psycho-educational discourses attempting to explain girls' aggression and bullying fail to account for the heterosexualized, classed or racialized power dynamics of social competition that organize heteronormative femininity. Then I elaborate a psychosocial approach using psychoanalytic concepts to trace how teen girls negotiate contemporary discourses of sexual aggression and competition. Drawing on findings from a study with racially and economically marginalized girls aged thirteen to fourteen attending an innercity school in South Wales, I suggest that the girls enact regulatory, classed discourses like slut to manage performances of heterosexualized aggression. However, alongside their demonstration of the impetus toward sexual regulation of one another, I show how the girls in my study are also attempting to challenge heteronormative formations of performing sexy-aggressive. Moments of critical resistance in their narratives, when they refuse to pathologize aggressive girls as mean and/or bullies, and in their fantasies, when they reject heterosexual relationships like marriage are explored.

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Jacqueline Yeldon and Robert Pitter

The study on which this article is built identifies psychosocial factors that come into play when boys experience pain and, more specifically, how these particular boys attribute meaning to such experience. Twelve male competitive ice hockey players aged nine to thirteen years participated in small focus-group sessions. Pain from exertion/fatigue, acute pain, chronic pain, and pain from a head injury were examined. The older boys had a more advanced understanding of pain but all the boys engaged in sense-making strategies to play through pain. They were all well informed about concussions and many exercised a greater level of caution towards symptoms of a head injury compared to chronic pain or discomfort from exertion. Educating young athletes and adults about the implications of pain and injury both in and beyond the sport itself may help deconstruct the false sense of invulnerability associated with being a competitive athlete.

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Tova Gamliel

The wailing of Yemenite Jewish women, as preserved in the Yemenite Jewish community in Israel, is presented as a case study for analysis of and comparison with other existing wailing cultures. The article uses a model of identities to examine anthropological conventions that interpret death rituals as rites of transition and crisis. A well-known function of wailing—as a bridge between life and death—is decoded in view of the model. The gender dimension of wailing is examined by counterposing and juxtaposing feminine wailing to masculine wailing at death events. The article describes the relative contributions of men and women to the stability of their community and analyzes the unique characteristics of the psycho-social power of women's wailing.

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‘Atomic Bombs’ in Monrovia, Liberia

The Identity and Stigmatisation of Ebola Survivors

Emilie Venables

Survivors of the Ebola virus have been widely profiled as the success stories of the outbreak, yet they still face challenges relating to their identity and reintegration. A survivor’s body takes on new meanings aft er experiencing Ebola, and the label ‘survivor’ is as problematic as it is celebratory. Using data conducted during fieldwork in Monrovia, Liberia, this article discusses the complex identities of Ebola survivors. In Monrovia, most of the stigma and discrimination relating to survivors was directed towards men, who were considered ‘atomic bombs’ because of concerns that they could transmit Ebola through sexual intercourse. Health promotion messages around sexual transmission were often misunderstood, and communities requested the quarantine of men to reduce what they felt was a threat to the wider community. Understanding the meanings and sources of such stigmatisation is necessary to be able to work with and support survivors through psychosocial care and health promotion activities.

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The Abortion Referendum in Portugal

The Influence of Psychosocial Variables in the Voting Intentions and Behavior of Portuguese Youth

Ana Figueiredo and Jorge Silva

February 11th 2007 set the date for what would be an intense and passionate discussion on a gendered health related issue in Portugal: abortion. In the referendum, approximately 44% of the eligible population voted, and from these 59% voted for the legalization of abortion in Portugal. Hence, this referendum brought about changes in the Portuguese law, which now allows legal abortion to occur at the desire of the woman until the 10th week of pregnancy. The present research consists of a study in which 205 university students fully responded to 4 data collection sessions between November 2006 and March 2007. The goal of the study was to understand the most relevant psychosocial variables when trying to explain the voting intentions and voting behavior of Portuguese youth. The variables in the present study included participants’ gender, political orientation, religious affiliation and practice, sexual attitudes and attitudes towards abortion. Our results show that all of the above variables, except for gender, are relevant for the opinion formation about this topic. Approximately 94% of our participants reported they had the intention to vote, although only 64% of these actually voted on the day of the referendum. Finally, we found that participants rely mostly on the strength of their attitudes towards abortion in relation to their voting intention, while relying mostly on the strength of their normative religious beliefs in relation to their voting behavior. Implications of our results for understanding the politics of abortion legislation are discussed.

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Josiane Tantchou

The aim of this study was (a) to use anthropological research tools to produce a thorough description of health providers' working conditions in a low-income country; (b) sketch the impact of a specific dimension of the national HIV/AIDS programme on this environment and (c) sketch the existence and examine the extent of burnout among health workers. We conducted intensive fieldwork in a large public hospital in one major town of the far-north region. We relied on three research tools: observations, in-depth interviews and the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI). The data were analysed manually. We found a working environment characterised by an acute lack of equipment, lack of recognition and equity, lack of community and fairness, and value conflict, all of which are factors implicated in burnout. This was exacerbated by the implementation of a psychosocial dimension in care for people with HIV/AIDS, which created exclusion and reinforced feelings of unfairness. However, despite their challenging working environment, health-care providers were not 'burned out', leading us to suggest that burnout is a syndrome of 'rigid' working environments, as opposed to 'porous' working environments.