And Then the War Came: A Content Analysis of Resilience Processes in the Narratives of Refugees from Humans of New York

Virginia Sánchez Sánchez, Helen Lillie


In 2015, 34,000 people per day were displaced from their homes during the “refugee crisis.” The media represented refugees as victims or threats and rarely included refugee voices. In contrast, the photoblog Humans of New York (HONY) included two series of Syrian refugee narratives told by refugees. This study analyzes these refugee narratives for the presence of resilience processes. The concept of resilience in refugee narratives counters traditional media representations of refugees. The authors created a codebook operationalizing Buzzanell’s five resilience processes and conducted a content analysis of HONY narratives for these processes. The presence of resilience processes in HONY refugee narratives is compared with resilience in the HONY series: Pediatric Cancer, Invisible Wounds, and Inmate Stories. Refugee narratives are unique in their emphasis on identity, struggle to create normalcy, and lack of positive reframing.


resilience, refugees, content analysis, Humans of New York, migration

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