“It’s a fight with your mind”: Experiences and Meaning of Occupation Among Men Detained in Immigration Removal Centres (IRCs) Within the United Kingdom

Madeline Denny, Bex Twinley

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Abstract

Immigration detention is known to negatively affect the health of those detained. Daily life in detention is affected by a restrictive physical and social environment. To date, there has been limited occupation-based research focused on the specific context of immigration detention. This study used interpretative phenomenological analysis to illuminate the experiences and meaning of occupation within immigration detention. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with four men who were previously detained. Three group experiential themes arose from the interview transcripts: 1) Occupational context of detention: Confusion, uncertainty, incarceration, 2) Doing is a fight with your mind and 3) Resisting to survive, surviving to resist. All participants experienced occupational injustice, but at times participants connected positive meanings such as hope, resistance and collective action to their occupational experiences. Occupational deprivation is inherent to the experience of immigration detention, yet alongside occupational deprivation, there are possibilities for experiencing purposeful occupation imbued with positive meanings.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Occupational Science
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 22 May 2024

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