Constrained articulations: accounts of violence, ‘victimhood’ and resistance

16 Apr 2018, 6.00PM–8.30PM
Iris Murdoch Building, University of Stirling
Professor Jane Callaghan, Director of the Centre for Child Wellbeing and Protection, University of Stirling
Constrained articulations: accounts of violence, ‘victimhood’ and resistance

This inaugural seminar will explore the complexities encountered when we try to articulate the inarticulable, and try to give voice to experiences that our culture does not have easy words for. The seminar draws on interviews with children who have lived with domestic violence, young women who have experienced child marriage, and young black women about educational experiences.

Professor Callaghan explores the challenges around articulating childhood experiences that are culturally constituted as extranormative (like children’s coping in the context of domestic violence), and the difficulties of problematizing gendered experiences that are normalised culturally (like young Northern Nigerian women’s experiences of early marriage).

Professor Callaghan will consider how embodied, relational and spatial accounts of resistance and agency seem particularly difficult to voice, and consider how these emerge as constrained articulations – spoken in gestures, oblique references, humour, and paradox. Professor Callaghan considers the implications of this for supporting young people whose experiences might sit outside our normative expectations of childhood.

Professor Callaghan is the Director of the Centre for Child Wellbeing and Protection. She is a psychologist and interdisciplinary researcher, with an established record of research in areas related to childhood, violence, family life, relationships, discrimination and exclusion, and mental health and identity.

Two clear strands are in evidence in her research – research focused on violence, health, children’s mental health, social vulnerability and family life, and a related strand focused on gender, professional identities, and ethnicity. She has published in a range of international journals, as well as numerous peer reviewed book chapters, and two books (one published, one due for publication in 2018).

She was principal investigator on the four nation European Commission funded project “Understanding Agency and Resistance Strategies – Children’s Experiences of Domestic Violence”, the largest qualitative study of children who live with domestic violence conducted to date. This project is currently extended through the Big Lottery Funded ‘She’ Programme, which provides whole system support for families seeking an end to domestic violence. She has also been principal investigator for projects focused on perpetrators of child sexual exploitation, early interventions for ‘vulnerable’ families, care leavers’ engagement with Higher Education, and co-investigator on a HEFCE funded project that aims to understand students’ experiences of disclosing experiences of harassment, to build better policies to support students and staff. In addition, she has completed projects focused on mental health services for looked after children and young offenders, the transformation of mental health services to increase young people’s participation in the interventions offered to them, creative interventions with young people excluded from education, and young care leavers’ engagement with higher education.