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    Encountering the Other across the Divides: Re-Grounding Social Justice as a Guiding Principle for Social Work with Refugees and Other Vulnerable Groups.
    (Oxford University Press, 2012-09-01) Hölscher, Dorothee.; Grace Bozalek, Vivienne.
    This article is based on an ethnographic study conducted in a South African church following the May 2008 xenophobic violence and subsequent displacement of over 100,000 foreigners. It explores the relationships between a group of established, privileged members of the church and a group of displaced refugees, who had found shelter in the church. Our aim is to contribute to an enriched conceptualisation of social justice for social work with refugees and other vulnerable groups the context of a South Africa's unequal and polarised society. The study's theoretical framework comprises feminist and relational approaches social justice. The data were analysed using a combination of critical discourses analysis and grounded theory. Our findings depict a deepening web of relationships, in which antagonistic ways of relating affirmed pre-existing hierarchies of race, socio-economic status and citizenship, working at cross-purposes with respectful and dignifying forms of mutual engagement between the two groups. We conclude by reasserting the need for social workers to engage continuously and critically with those expressions of injustice as are specific to the particular contexts in which we may find ourselves. This involves a reflexive engagement with our own implication in these structural and relational constellations.
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    Biopsychosocial impacts of laughter yoga and therapy on stroke survivors.
    (World Federation of Societies of Intensive and Critical Care Medicine and the Society on Complexity in Acute Illness., 2011) Suraj-Narayan, Gourie.; Surajnarayan, Sheroma.
    With limited resources and challenges facing health practitioners working with stroke patients, more creative and innovative interventions are required. Although it is normally only considered cliché that “laughter is the best medicine,” specific medical theories and documented research attribute improved health and well-being to laughter. This study examined the biopsychosocial impact of laughter yoga and therapy on stroke patients in South Africa. A quasiexperimental research design was used involving 2 groups. The laughter group participated in movement exercises using laughter yoga and therapy, whereas the control group participated in the same exercises without the laughter yoga and therapy. Physiologic tests were performed to measure the respondent's blood sugar levels as well as their blood pressure during the pretest and posttest. A pretest and posttest relating to the psychosocial functioning of the respondent's using the PANAS scale as well as a self-reported symptom checklist were administered. The results of the study indicated that laugher yoga and therapy had positive biopsychosocial impacts on the laughter group. Evidence of lowered blood pressure, lowered blood sugar levels, enhanced mobility, improvement in speech and increase in positive emotions, and enhanced social functioning was visible in the laughter group. There was no significant difference in the biopsychosocial functioning of the control group. Because laughter yoga and therapy do not require any specific equipment or resources, it was found to be the most economical, nonpharmacologic intervention for the stroke patients. In view of the therapeutic benefits, the researchers recommend that laughter yoga and therapy be used as complementary alternate medicine as well as be integrated into psychotherapy, psychiatry, and other biopsychosocial interventions for the prevention as well as treatment of stroke. Copyright © 2011 Published by Elsevier Inc.