Being An Agent In Your Own Narrative Of [In]Securities:Creating Safe Spaces : Interpreting the life stories of Afghan women, a qualitative study
Abstract: With the recent take back of the country by the Taliban, Afghan women’s experiences of[in]security have again become top-of mind for many. Yet, this renewed focus perpetuates anexisting imagery of Afghan women as powerless victims, with a few rebellious heroines. Thisimage, instrumentalizing women’s experiences, fuels different political agendas that are oftennot helpful to the women. To provide a more authentic image of the women’s sensemakingand experiences of [in]security, I therefore interviewed five Afghan women using a life-storymethodology where the women were included in all stages of the research process. Duringthis project, I took a feminist and critical approach to security: the woman herself defined theconcept, its impact on her life, and how she managed it. Contrary to other similar researchprojects, I asked the women about times they felt safe instead of unsafe to lessen any retraumatization, and to emphasize their opportunity for agency. Listening to the women’sstories, I interpreted the every-day as a site where they enhanced their agency in the face ofloss of control brought on by pervasive insecurities, something they described as a continuousprocess to create safe spaces. During this process, I identified an analytical pattern of how thewomen understood, and thus went about creating these safe spaces, that of adjustment andresistance. Albeit with movement between the two. This pattern shows how complex thewomen’s understanding and reaction to insecurities were as well as their responses, which iskey to understand for any future support for the women of Afghanistan.
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