The ability to collaborate with others has been a central factor in researching the complex social issues that surround asylum seekers and refugees. Thus, during the last group task, it was very insightful to have each member bring their individual knowledge and perspectives to our discussions. It seems as though every meeting, we all have new insights to present as we have been looking at new information, new issues and new actors.
These new findings may also emerge from the notion that complex issues are not stagnant but rather always changing. In ‘Reassembling the Social: An Introduction to Actor-Network-Theory‘, Latour suggests that the actors are constantly in the process of (re)assembling, (re)associating and (dis)agreeing. Thus, it is our role as the researcher to trace these actors and their movements.
During this weeks exercises, it was good to exchange these various avenues that we have been researching as it provided a wholesome perspective of the issue at large. In the first map, we focused on my problem regarding ‘attitudes towards refugees’. Despite focusing on individual problems, I found that all group members were able to confidently contribute to this open discourse. As opposed to previous mind maps, we found that this task was much more successful as we were able to quickly and naturally fill the entire page with various intuitive ideas. This was perhapsbecause we focused on a more specific topic as opposed to the larger maps. In previous maps, we found it difficult to start as there was an overload of information which we didn’t know how to organise.
Not only did I find mapping out my problem to be helpful, but I also gained some perspective about other problems surrounding the asylum seeker issue. We created a map that addressed how refugees experience trauma in detention. We explored disturbing experiences that refugees often endure and how this effects themselves, their family and the community. We also looked at who or what is responsible for inflicting this trauma and proposed ideas about how it is/should be handled.
A definite weakness about this process however was that we felt pressured to already have some ideas for Assignment 3. For the last few weeks, we have not yet had individual discussions with tutors and thus found it difficult to transition from the research stage to the responding stage. I also felt a little overwhelmed with the idea that we had to start proposing concepts as there’s still so much that I don’t know about emergent areas.