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The lived experience of wives of diplomats: an interpretative phenomenological analysis

Nasr, N. (2018). The lived experience of wives of diplomats: an interpretative phenomenological analysis. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)


The mobility of diplomats represents an important facet of today’s migration flows. This diplomatic minority has become diverse and numerous as a result of increased international assignments and career mobility becoming a necessity. Notably, diplomatic mobility has been found to have an impact on family arrangements and partner’s working life and future plans. However, despite being one of the earliest forms of expatriation, very little is known about the experiences of spouses of diplomats who decided to embark on this journey alongside their husbands. Consequently, this study is interested in giving a voice to this minority and explore their experiences as Wives of Diplomats (WOD) across diplomatic assignments. Data is collected from eight participants using semi-structured interviews and analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). The findings suggest that despite the fact that each country has its own laws and rights for spouses of diplomats, all participants experience their role as WOD in a similar fashion, explaining that many lose their sense of self and autonomy, especially in the first diplomatic posting. It appears that the strength and connectivity of their marriage allows them to make sense of their experiences by understanding that their presence is essential for the diplomatic posting and that they have the possibility of choosing who they want to be. Implications for psychological practitioners are discussed in terms of their clinical work and their responsibility to advocate for social justice. Suggestions for future research are also discussed.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
Departments: Doctoral Theses
Doctoral Theses > School of Arts and Social Sciences Doctoral Theses
School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
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