Possible selves, both feared and desired, are greatly affected by transitional life periods. There is, however, an absence of research on the impact of migration on possible selves where previous selves have been rendered impossible through the processes of forced displacement. This chapter draws on detailed biographical interviews and informal conversations with eighteen refugee women who, through participation in three educational projects, were seeking to reframe their career possible selves and develop ‘roadmaps’ (Oyserman et al., 2004) to help them attain desired futures. The chapter outlines lost and fractured selves, how hoped-for selves were being shaped, elaborated and threatened by and within the exigencies of being a refugee, and the tension between desired and survival possible selves. In particular the chapter illuminates how structural barriers such as unemployment, poverty, ill health and a lack of recognition of existing qualifications affect refugees’ ability to think about their futures, or put strategies in place to attain them. It concludes by arguing a need for the possible selves construct to be reframed, to take account of the sociological and not just the psychological.

DOI: 10.4324/9781315104591-9

ISBN: 9781315104591