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Working with Wasim: A convergence of community

Pedersen, A., Kenny, M.A., Briskman, L. and Hoffman, S. (2008) Working with Wasim: A convergence of community. The Australian Community Psychologist, 20 (1). pp. 57-72.

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Using the case study of Wasim, we look at the role of the Australian community in both allowing the hard-line treatment of asylum seekers by the Howard federal government, and the role of the Australian community in turning this around. In so doing, we use Bronfenbrenner’s (1979) ecological framework as conceptualized by Dalton Elias and Wandersman (2007). We found that an ecological framework was useful in explaining the hard-line treatment of asylum seekers; the macro-system being the most relevant. Conversely, when looking at the community attempting to rectify this situation, all of the ecological levels were highly relevant. Drawing on the perspectives of four researchers from different disciplines, we note that the effect of the Australian policy is negative, most importantly for the asylum seekers themselves, but also for the whole Australian community. Finally, we note that communities are not helpless when attempting to address situations such as this. Although there are many issues which still need to be addressed regarding asylum seekers, change has occurred at all ecological levels. The community can make a difference.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Psychology
Publisher: Australian Psychological Society
Copyright: Australian Psychological Society
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