Marco Gemignani Research



  • Border-crossing
  • Displacement
  • Identity construction
  • Narratives
  • Subjectivity
  • Trauma
  • Refugees
  • Constructivism
  • Qualitative Research
  • Cultural Studies
  • Background

Across my studies of psychology, few, selected authors have mostly influenced my approach to research and practice, and my identity as a psychologist. Most of these scholars are psychologists, but I like to think of them as philosophers because they set my theoretical framework of research, practice, and teaching. I ordered them according to their appearance in my learner's life:

    George Kelly, Paul Watzlavick, Gregory Bateson, Eric Fromm, Carl Rogers, Karen Horney, Kenneth Gergen, Michael Foucault, Stuart Hall.

Inevitably, I am leaving many influential authors out of this short list, which is not meant to be exhaustive. I just wanted to provide the reader with a general orientation to understanding my research interests.


My research focuses on psychological and cultural aspects of border crossing, displacement, and identity construction. My interests in multiculturalism, social constructionism, and discourse analysis develop through the exploration of the role that narratives have in the construction of personal, social, and cultural realities. Specifically, my research takes up a number of psycho-social processes and categories that scholars in different social disciplines have long studied, such as gender, power, memory, subjectivity, psychological place & space, migratory processes, culture-specific constructions, traumatic experiences, acculturation, and personal growth. I examine both the impact of these aspects in the psychology of individuals, groups and communities and the ways in which these phenomena or processes come to be true for individuals and their psycho-social worlds. I therefore analyze the inevitable and yet quite neglected interplays between personal and discursive (i.e., social, cultural, linguistic, political) domains of action. The use of postmodern, constructionist, and narrative perspectives allows me to elaborate new and more compound views of the experience of border crossing, cultural adjustment, and humanitarian assistance.

Current Research

I am currently researching on three specific topics. The first examines the traumatic experiences and memories of forced migration. I analyze the ways in which memories becomes alive in the narratives of individuals, groups, and society. I also analyze the link between the psychological presence of specific memories (e.g., about traumas) and the politics of memory. This study has resulted in the manuscript “The past if past,” which has been submitted for publication and is currently under review.

The second analyzes and anticipates field interventions to promote mental health and to prevent the development of psychological disorders among refugees. Refugee individuals and groups are an at-risk population for psychopathology. Even after their resettlement in Western countries, psychological issue may emerge in relation to past trauma, bereavement, learned helplessness, acculturation, and changes in identity and status. I am interested in developing intervention programs to prevent the development of psychological concerns in refugees.

My third project is about different aspects that are salient in the development of a professional identity as psychologists for international students in the United States. The training to become a clinical or counseling psychology is uniquely situated somewhere among the acquisition of new knowledge, experiential learning, artistic and creative interventions, and reflective awareness. If students are not trained in technical and mechanical views of psychology, then the qualitative dimension of psychology and clinical training requires the development of skills and styles that are contextual, reflexive, and relational, and therefore, social and cultural. This aspect of the training in clinical psychology makes its experience particularly intense and challenging for international students, who may have unique training needs and edges.