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Counterspaces: A Unit of Analysis for Understanding the Role of Settings in Marginalized Individuals’ Adaptive Responses to Oppression

Counterspaces: A Unit of Analysis for Understanding the Role of Settings in Marginalized... Research and theory on the intervening variables that enable individuals who experience marginalization and oppression to achieve well‐being have historically relied on an individual level of analysis. Yet, there is a growing body of literature that highlights the roles that contexts play in facilitating processes that result in wellness among marginalized individuals. This paper proposes a conceptual framework that highlights a specific type of setting, referred to as “counterspaces,” which promotes the psychological well‐being of individuals who experience oppression. Counterspaces are theorized to enhance well‐being by challenging deficit‐oriented societal narratives concerning marginalized individuals’ identities. The conceptual frame proposed here suggests that “challenging” can occur through at least three processes: (1) narrative identity work, (2) acts of resistance, and (3) direct relational transactions. This paper articulates each of these challenging processes. Additionally, the utility of using the Counterspaces framework for thinking critically about and investigating how settings—and the transactional processes that unfold within them—are associated with the promotion of psychological wellness for various marginalized populations is discussed. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png American Journal of Community Psychology Wiley

Counterspaces: A Unit of Analysis for Understanding the Role of Settings in Marginalized Individuals’ Adaptive Responses to Oppression

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References (73)

Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
© Society for Community Research and Action
ISSN
0091-0562
eISSN
1573-2770
DOI
10.1007/s10464-012-9497-7
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Research and theory on the intervening variables that enable individuals who experience marginalization and oppression to achieve well‐being have historically relied on an individual level of analysis. Yet, there is a growing body of literature that highlights the roles that contexts play in facilitating processes that result in wellness among marginalized individuals. This paper proposes a conceptual framework that highlights a specific type of setting, referred to as “counterspaces,” which promotes the psychological well‐being of individuals who experience oppression. Counterspaces are theorized to enhance well‐being by challenging deficit‐oriented societal narratives concerning marginalized individuals’ identities. The conceptual frame proposed here suggests that “challenging” can occur through at least three processes: (1) narrative identity work, (2) acts of resistance, and (3) direct relational transactions. This paper articulates each of these challenging processes. Additionally, the utility of using the Counterspaces framework for thinking critically about and investigating how settings—and the transactional processes that unfold within them—are associated with the promotion of psychological wellness for various marginalized populations is discussed.

Journal

American Journal of Community PsychologyWiley

Published: Sep 1, 2012

Keywords: ; ; ; ; ;

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