Stories Told By, For, and About Women Refugees: Engendering Resistance


  • Kate Smith University of Huddersfield


In this paper I discuss some of the ways women’s narratives reflect how they make sense of seeking asylum[1] and how narratives can become a means of resistance. The interview data comes from a qualitative study[2] looking at the in-depth narratives of seventeen women who had all made a claim for asylum in the United Kingdom (UK). The women who participated had been living in the UK for different periods of time, ranging from a couple of months to seven years. Aged between early twenties to mid-fifties, they came from fourteen different countries of origin. I utilised an in-depth narrative approach to interviewing women which offered a number of distinct advantages: allowing for women’s narratives to be the focus of the study; capturing the particularity, complexity and richness of each woman’s story; and highlighting women’s agency in storytelling (Mauthner and Doucet, 1998, 2003). Interviews lasted between one and a half to three hours and were conducted in a wide range of different locations in the UK.

[1]The term ‘asylum seeker’ used in this study include women who have made a claim for asylum under the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, regardless of the legal determination on their claim.

[2]This study was developed from PhD research that was funded by an Economic and Social Research Council studentship.




How to Cite

Smith, K. (2015). Stories Told By, For, and About Women Refugees: Engendering Resistance. ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies, 14(2), 461–469. Retrieved from