Applied Social Studies - Book chapters

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    Adoption reunions: an exploratory study of the ‘lived experience’ of Irish adult intercountry adoptees who have reunions with their birth families in the digital age
    (University College Cork, 2023) Shier, Anne Marie; Christie, Alastair; McCaughren, Simone; Jenkinson, Hilary; Technological University Dublin
    This research explores the lived experiences of reunion for young adults who are adopted internationally to Ireland. It examines how intercountry adoptees have reunions with their birth families online and in-person, and how experiences of contact and reunion with their birth family contribute to their identity construction. The rationale for studying reunion in intercountry adoption to Ireland is that it is a relatively recent phenomenon, with the first cohort of intercountry adoptees to Ireland now reaching adulthood. Therefore, the study makes a unique contribution to this field of research by addressing a gap in research on the experiences of reunion with birth families among intercountry adoptees to Ireland. A further significant contribution which the study offers is a focus on how social media and technology are used in the process of reunion. An interpretivist approach was used to provide insight into the reunion experiences of internationally adopted people in Ireland. This thesis adopts a qualitative research methodology with the data drawn from in-depth, semi-structured interviews completed over twelve months with twelve intercountry adoptees aged between nineteen and thirty. All of the participants were internationally adopted to Ireland and have had reunions with their birth families online and/or in person. Theoretical concepts centred around a sociological approach to identity construction and relevant literature were used to explore and illuminate the experiences of intercountry adoptees who have reunions with their birth family. The transcripts were analysed using reflexive thematic analysis. The findings demonstrate the transformative role of social media and technology on reunion in intercountry adoption. The affordances of social media and technology facilitated searching for and connecting with family members online, often at a fast pace. The online contact ‘normalised’ and provided a ‘safe space’ for birth family contact and identity construction. A significant finding was the extent to which birth siblings act as facilitators and mediators of participants’ online contact with birth parents, and the way that online contact facilitated participants’ engagement in impression management to control and manage their identity narratives. The findings highlight the immersive embodied experiences of in-person contact which frequently involved staying with birth family and provided opportunities for ‘mothering’ and sharing family cultural rituals and routines. Challenges associated with the reunion including managing boundaries, financial expectations and accessing information are presented. The research findings demonstrate the importance of birth family contact and information for intercountry adoptees and the key role this plays in identity formation. This research contributes to knowledge by reconceptualising what is meant by a ‘reunion’ in an intercountry adoption context; highlighting the significant role of social media technology in reunion in intercountry adoption; emphasising the continued importance of in-person contact and demonstrating the way that sociological approaches to identity can be used as a lens to explore the experiences of intercountry adoptees who have reunions with their birth families. Finally, this research provides recommendations for policy, practice and research concerning reunion in intercountry adoption.
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    The Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) Review: Advancing student sexual citizenship in Ireland for the twenty-first century?
    (Springer Nature Ltd., 2023-11-01) Kiely, Elizabeth; Górnicka, Barbara; Doyle, Mark
    In this chapter, the concept of sexual citizenship (Evans, Sexual Citizenship: The Material Construction of Sexualities. London: Routledge, 1993) is elaborated and employed as a lens to analyse to what extent recent Irish policy developments and more specifically the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) Review of Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) (NCCA, Report on the Review of Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) in Primary and Post-primary Schools., 2019) indicate a shift away from a construction of the student’s sexual citizenship as a problematic citizenship in need of regulation and control. It is argued that while there are positive indicators that a more positive conception of the student as sexual citizen is evident in the NCCA review of RSE (NCCA, Report on the Review of Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) in Primary and Post-primary Schools., 2019), there are also clear indicators that the revised RSE curriculum is unlikely to trouble or move beyond normative conceptions of sexualities in significant ways. This means that the space to pursue the goals of equal and inclusive sexual citizenship in the revised RSE programme may still be limited.
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    Parental and professional perspectives on educational integration of migrant and refugee children in Ireland
    (Routledge, 2023-12-12) Martin, Shirley; Horgan, Deirdre; Maier, Reana; O'Riordan, Jacqui
    The aim of this paper is to explore qualitative research with Asylum-Seeking and Refugee Parents and Educational Professionals in Ireland and investigate the socio-educational integration of refugee and migrant children in their new schools. This work was undertaken as part of the larger ongoing EU Horizon2020 study ‘Integration Mapping of Refugee and Migrant Children’ (IMMERSE). This paper will focus on the findings from collaborative workshops and interviews with parents and educational professionals and will discuss many of the barriers migrant and refugee children face in Irish schools. The data from this research demonstrates some very positive findings in relation to socio-educational integration in schools in Ireland. It finds similarities between parents and professional perspectives on what supports positive integration in school for children including positive child-teacher relations and the importance of peer relationships. While the findings indicate that parents were positive about the general environment of schools in Ireland, and education supports such as extra classes, they also found it difficult to accessible additional educational supports for their children.
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    Refusing transitional time: Re-opening the unresolved truth and reconciliation commission cases and the future of memory in postapartheid South Africa
    (De Gruyter, 2023-10-04) Thomas, Kylie; Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie van Wetenschappen
    This chapter focuses on the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and its aftermath, in particular, on the ongoing struggle to prosecute apartheid- era perpetrators who either did not testify before the Commission or who were not granted amnesty. Since 2003, when the final TRC report was released, none of the perpetrators responsible for gross violations of human rights committed during apartheid has been held to account. The unresolved cases of activists who were detained, tortured, and murdered by the Security Police have been systematically suppressed for political reasons. In 2017, as a result of campaigning by civil society organizations and family members of those who were killed, the inquest into the death of anti-apartheid activist, Ahmed Timol, was re-opened. The verdict in the 2017 inquest found that Timol, who allegedly committed suicide while held in police detention in 1971, was in fact tortured and murdered by the Security Police. The finding in this case not only opens the possibility for prosecutions in cases of gross violations of human rights, but provides a critical opportunity to recalibrate what I term ‘postapartheid transitional time.’ The re-opening of the unresolved TRC cases has the potential to radically shift how people think about what apartheid was, how it continues to affect the present, and how people experience and understand impunity and injustice.
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    Nightnography: We are not night creatures
    (Springer International Publishing, 2023-08-31) MacQuarie, Julius-Cezar
    CHAPTER TWO focuses on the experimental nature of nightnography, a method which focuses not only on the labouring bodies of workers, but also of the nightnographer. Nightnography, is a portmanteau of ‘night’ and ‘ethnography’, which I adapted from diurnal anthropology to research the bodily experiences of nightworkers who are otherwise hard to reach by daytime anthropologists. In doing so, I also subvert the dominant diurnal focus in anthropology and centre on the body of the anthropologist researching at night. This ‘situated’ approach is based on what I saw and felt in and through my body as I was exposed to hard labour to understand the deep, underthe- skin nature of migrant worker precarity. Thick observations and mental and body notes transcribed in notebooks following each night shift, make the corpus of the conversations, interviews and visual recordings used in this chapter and throughout the book. The audio-visual tools offer new possibilities for the inclusiveness of this group of migrant nightworkers. I am thankful to the co-workers who allowed me to enter their lives and put their real experiences onto the reel. Whilst I ensured to report stories and conversations as close to their actuality as possible, I made sure to change names and places so that I could protect the identity and confidentiality of those involved.