International Society of Political Psychology

Conference Abstracts

Psychological and Political Effects of Forced Uprooting

Maritza Montero, Universidad Central de Venezuela; Cecira Chacoa Brice├▒o, Universidad Polit├ęcnica

Conference: ISPP 2011
Affiliation: Universidad Central de Venezuela
Research Area: Social inequality and social change

Political changes happening in Venezuela since 1999 have produced a phenomenon new to Venezuelans:  migrating in order to obtain a better life in other countries.  As observed at “head-hunters” meetings, participants seek information about places to go and about organizations looking for qualified workers, while expressing their need to go away, weeping and expressing their sorrow for being forced to leave their fatherland due to current social-economic circumstances. The clash between national identity and being forced to abandon the country has been researched through interviews, focus groups and a chat-room, providing discursive ways of defining the situation and the psychological suffering of uprooted people, and of candidates to migrate. The analysis carried out included both quantitative and qualitative methods. Content analysis as well as discourse analysis with a rhetoric-hermeneutic approach have been used to find the main sources of malaise and grieving, organizing them in categories. Among the reasons forcing participants to migrate, they point out: social insecurity, lack of opportunities to develop, violence, discrimination, political hatred, freedom restricted and, threatening political discourse. Political consequences and contradictions between the decision to leave the country, the wish to remain in it and, the impossibility to do so, are analyzed and discussed.