9-20-12 Marco Gemignani

Presentation Archives

Academic Year 2012-2013


Meeting Date: Thurs, September 20th, 2012, 4:30 - 6:00 PM, 207 College Hall, Berger Gallery, Duquesne University.

This is the next event for our year-long theme of Migrancy

Living Undocumented

Presenter: Professor Marco Gemignani, Dept. of Psychology, Duquesne University

Bio:  Dr. Marco Gemignani works as associate professor in the Psychology Department at DuquesneUniversity, where he teaches in the areas of qualitative research methodologies and communitypsychology. In the field of migration, Dr. Gemignani's main research interests concern thepsychological dimensions of forced and economic migration, and the links between acculturation andmental health among refugees. In 2011, he founded the Psychological Services for Spanish-Speakers , a community mental-health program for Latino immigrants at the Duquesne s PsychologyClinic. Dr. Gemignani has also published extensively about qualitative inquiry in psychology and he isthe main editor of an upcoming special issue of journal The Qualitative Inquiry on QualitativePsychology.

Title:  "Living Undocumented"

Abstract: Beyond its legal connotations, being undocumented is a psychological experience markedby fear, vulnerability, and anxiety. Ill-advised but common political and social constructions ofunauthorized immigrants as illegal individuals greatly contribute to these emotions. These individualsfrequently live in a state of permanent precariousness and perpetual illegality, as it is almostimpossible and at times dangerous for them to seek legal solutions to their migration status. On a dailybasis, the risk of being imprisoned and deported counters the possibility for long-term plans and asecure sense of belonging. At the same time, as invisibility and social isolation are common strategiesto deal with the fear of La Migra, the risk of being used and exploited tends to increase, while accessand the possibility of economic development tends to decrease. The social isolation is alsoexacerbated by the fact that unauthorized immigrants cannot freely return to their home countries tostay with the family members who did not migrate. Many times, immigrants do not see their significantothers for several years. Together with the risk of deportation, social isolation and family distance tendto create cultural, relational, and affective challenges, which often entail the significant reshaping of theunauthorized immigrant s personal and social identities. Based on my clinical work atthe "Psychological Services for Spanish-Speakers" at the Duquesne Psychology Clinic, I will present acase study on the psychological dimensions and consequences of living undocumented .

All interested faculty, graduate students, and other parties are invited.  Refreshments will be served.