Wellbeing in our own words: survivors of slavery defining wellbeing

Dang, Minh (2021) Wellbeing in our own words: survivors of slavery defining wellbeing. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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The anti-slavery movement is witnessing survivors of slavery call for a new moral obligation: to co-construct a survivor’s journey in freedom after enslavement. To the extent that survivors of slavery are the focus of research, current evidence enumerates the deleterious effects of slavery on an individual’s physical, social, and psychological health. Evidence of survivors’ wellbeing is sparse, with few studies exploring the presence of positive attributes demonstrated by survivors of slavery. While understanding the negative health consequences is important for efforts to diminish survivors’ suffering, public advocacy efforts by survivors have called for interventions that enable a full life, one that is more than the absence of enslavement and its consequences. To respond to survivors’ requests and fill a gap in anti-slavery research, this thesis asked and answered: how do survivors of slavery define wellbeing?

Sixteen semi-structured interviews were conducted with survivors living in the UK. Data analysis followed constructivist grounded theory methodology, resulting in seven theoretical categories that served as the foundation to a survivor-informed definition of wellbeing. The definition that emerged is wellbeing for survivors of slavery is a relational process that enables and sustains practices for answering existential questions about meaning and purpose. The practices are activities and behaviours used to manage the impact of trauma, build a life worth living, and learn about freedom from slavery. Uniquely within the field, this study utilizes the investigator’s insider status in the survivor of slavery community. The implications for this thesis are to initiate a new direction of anti-slavery research and to inform alternative considerations to policy and programming for survivors’ after-care.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Bales, Kevin
Wright, Nicola
Keywords: slavery, wellbeing, human trafficking, mental health, lived experience
Subjects: H Social sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Social Sciences, Law and Education > School of Politics and International Relations
Item ID: 65834
Depositing User: Dang, Minh
Date Deposited: 06 Oct 2023 08:38
Last Modified: 07 Oct 2023 04:30
URI: https://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/65834

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