Journal of Pacific Rim Psychology


Refugee Without Refuge: Wasim, Phillip Adams, and a Nation Divided

Anne Pedersena1 c1 and Farida Fozdara2 c2

a1 Murdoch University, Australia.

a2 Murdoch University, Australia.


This study follows on from previous work (Pedersen et al., 2008) that examined the situation of the stateless asylum seeker, Wasim. In the present study, a blog discussion stemming from an editorial about Wasim (Adams, 2008) was analysed. Participants were identified as ‘Do-Gooders’ and ‘Do-Badders’; categories that indicate their orientation to asylum seeker debates (labels originated from the blog itself). We identified several features of the blog discussion. While similar themes and discursive devices were used by the two groups, they were used very differently. The Do-Gooders were more likely to offer accurate information about asylum seekers or Wasim and to show humanitarian concerns for Wasim and others like him. The Do-Badders were more likely to display emotion, show the ‘Phillip Adams Effect’ (addressing the author of the editorial, Phillip Adams, in their submissions) and name-call. However, there was no significant difference with respect to whether participants addressed Wasim's situation specifically rather than focusing on the general issue of asylum seekers. The blog demonstrates, in microcosm, the divided orientation of Australians regarding asylum seekers.

Key Words

  • asylum seeker;
  • anti-prejudice;
  • anti-racism;
  • refugee activism;
  • refugee advocacy


c1 Address for correspondence: Dr Anne Pedersen, School of Psychology, Murdoch University, Murdoch, WA, 6150, Australia.

c2 Dr Farida Fozdar, Sociology, School of Social Sciences and Humanities, Murdoch WA 6150, Australia.