Healthcare is the keystone of a number of complex progressive social justice issues that evoke complex emotions. As the demography of Ireland rapidly changes, the practices and expectations of some asylum-seekers and others seeking refugee status present new opportunities and challenges for health-service providers. This paper looks at some of the emotions evoked in healthcare issues. It draws on observations and interviews from empirical fieldwork carried out for the Health Research Board. The research was conducted both in the Adelaide and Meath Hospital, incorporating the National Children’s Hospital, Tallaght and in a number of refugee reception centres in Ireland. At one level, honouring faith choices within a healthcare setting is a societal acknowledgement—often made to people at their most vulnerable—that the potent and cathartic transformative rituals they value are significant in mediating and managing their emotions. This paper argues that, at another level, it is a practical and symbolic communication of a statutory commitment to interculturalism and community cohesion.
Source: Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies Volume 36, Issue 6, 2010 – Special Issue: On the Move: Emotions and Human Mobility