Restricted Freedom: Depressive Experiences and Gender Identities among Female Palestinian Adolescent Refugees

University essay from Lunds universitet/LUMID International Master programme in applied International Development and Management

Abstract: The purpose of this study was to provide a complementary understanding to depression among female adolescent refugees through facilitating a feminist social constructionist approach emphasizing the girls’ own subjective experiences and understandings. The research questions dealt with how female adolescent refugees understand the discourses of femininity in their specific context and how they feel and act in regards of these discourses, what meaning female adolescent refugees put into their depressive experiences, how they make sense of these experiences, under what circumstances they are living and how they think these influence their well-being. The study took place in the Palestinian refugee camp Bourj al Barajneh in Lebanon. The main methods were conversation groups and interviews. These were complemented with focus groups and a document review. The main results were that the girls in the study were well aware of the discourses of femininity in their context and that these discourses limited their life choices. While some girls learnt the lesson of gender well, others had depressive experiences trying to live up to the standards of an ideal woman. The social and material circumstances under which they are living helped to reinforce these standards, further restricting their freedom.

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