Healing in the Borderlands of Belonging : Trusting the Journey of Black Girl Magic in Sweden

University essay from Linköpings universitet/Tema Genus

Abstract: This thesis explores how coloniality of heritage, denial of racialization and forced passing impact Black women in Sweden. In response, it investigates practices of self-care adopted to buffer and cope with racism-related stress. Often, we connect self-care to spa-days, luxurious masks, and spoiling oneself as capitalism has translated self-care into one if its buzzword for people to consume. It is characterized by the privatization of wellbeing rather than a collective endeavor, which feeds into a capitalist agenda (Michaeli, 2017). Queering self-care and adopting self-care as self-preservation in the words of Audre Lorde (2017), provides a holistic embodiment of Black feminist thought, especially for us facing intersecting oppressions. Healing circles as a method for this research provides a safe-space where experiences can be shared over the commonality of being Black women in Sweden. Moreover, separatist settings are found to hold therapeutic value as they limit the risks of being alienated when talking about a common identity. In extension, the healing circles of this research explore how representation in media and art provide possibilities of being included in a global community as a response to not having access to physical affinity groups. Concludingly, I suggest how healing circles can and should be integrated in gender and feminist studies as an intersectional methodology that further develops the possibilities of not speaking for the Other.

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