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Moving on: structural violence & age(ncy) in young South Asian women’s lifeworlds post-family violen

New Zealand Family Violence Clearinghouse EmploymentFamily/whānauInequalityMental healthRelationships, love & intimacyViolence, abuse & neglectThesis
Moving on: structural violence & age(ncy) in young South Asian women’s lifeworlds post-family violen

Family violence is a serious social problem across various communities in Aotearoa/New Zealand. This feminist ethnography centres the stories of diasporic South Asian young women living in Aotearoa, their experiences of migration, violence, Shakti refuge life and moving on. Shakti is a feminist organisation that advocates for Asian, Middle Eastern and African women survivors of family violence. I argue that age and immigration status significantly informs relations of power and discrimination, from survivors’ experiences of family violence to their lives after crisis. I assert that feminist intersectionality, the dominant theory for explaining immigrant women’s experiences of domestic violence, is limited and requires theoretical supplementation. I advocate for more analyses of relationships to counter the overemphasis on identities in intersectional understandings of inequality and violence, specifically more attention to generational relationships. Survivors’ agency, mobility and age are foregrounded in this thesis to consider the instability of power relations and possibilities of change. Shakti intervention services provided a transitional space and a key source of support for youth survivors. A sense of communitas was built with other survivors in the refuge like other kinds of rites of passage. Shakti youth survivors continued to struggle with immigration; employment issues; mental health and reflected on feelings of both hope and despair in their lives post-crisis. Their strategies often involve mobility as part of a process of moving on, seeking social connections and places of belonging. They invested in cultural and economic capital to rebuild their lives. Structural violence is deeply intertwined with family violence in survivor’s stories. Feminist politics for liberation and social change need to challenge the entanglement of social hierarchies with political economy.

Author: Fu, Mengzhu Publication date: 01 Jan 2014 Read the full thesis