Coping with trauma in domestic migrant worker narratives: Linguistic, emotional and psychological perspectives

Hans LADEGAARD*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

    27 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Trauma can be defined as an event that goes beyond ordinary modes of experience and linguistic representation. It represents a break not just with a particular form of representation but with the possibility of representation at all. Drawing on a large corpus of domestic migrant worker narratives, the article analyses trauma narratives in which migrant women share their experiences while working for abusive employers. The stories deal with unspeakable suffering and humiliation, and the article attempts to outline the narrative structures that characterise trauma storytelling: broken narratives with voids in the narrative flow. It also analyses the emotional component of trauma narratives focusing on crying, which is seen as an authentication of feeling and meaning. Finally, the article considers how the women make sense of their traumatic experiences, and how peer support becomes essential in the narrators' attempts to rewrite their life stories from victimhood to survival and beyond.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)189-221
    Number of pages33
    JournalJournal of Sociolinguistics
    Volume19
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2015

    Scopus Subject Areas

    • Language and Linguistics
    • Sociology and Political Science
    • Philosophy
    • Linguistics and Language
    • History and Philosophy of Science

    User-Defined Keywords

    • Broken narratives
    • Crying
    • Discourse analysis
    • Foreign domestic helpers
    • Narrative therapy
    • Trauma

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