Imaging agency and resistance: Photos and drawings in work with children in situations of domestic abuse

  • Jane Callaghan (Invited speaker)
  • Jo Alexander (Invited speaker)
  • Lisa Fellin (Invited speaker)
  • Sixsmith, J. (Invited speaker)

    Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk


    Understanding Agency and Resistance Strategies is a four nation European project, exploring the stories of children and young people in situations of domestic abuse. Psychological research in this area tends to produce discourses of damage in relation to this group of young people, focusing on the psychopathological consequences of ‘witnessing’ abuse. Dominant discourses of these children position them as passive observers of abuse, wounded by the bad things they have seen. In contrast, our focus is on how children are able to cope with and resist oppressive practices in the family, and how they are able to constitute an agentic sense of self, despite the abuse they live with. Because narrating agentic and resistant subjectivities runs counter to dominant discursive constructions of childhoods lived in abuse, these can be difficult to articulate. Our project, therefore uses photo elicitation, drawing and other creative approaches, to enable young people to present more complex accounts of themselves, that perhaps extend beyond the category of ‘victim’. This enables young people to find alternative strategies to articulate the complex dynamics of family life, the embodied and spatial experiences of domestic abuse, and to provide non-normative accounts of resistance and resilience – what we term ‘paradoxical resilience’. In this paper, we explore an analysis of the images young people work with in their interviews with us.
    Period11 Apr 2014
    Event titleThe British Psychological Society, Qualitative Methods in Psychology Section (QMiP): Multiple Transformations of Qualitative Data
    Event typeConference
    LocationLeicester, United Kingdom