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Social Networks of Refugees in the United Kingdom: Tradition, tactics and new community spaces

By Lucy Williams


This study is based on three years of participative, ethnographic fieldwork with asylum-seekers and refugees in the United Kingdom. Through participant observation and analysis of ego-centred networks, I attempted to build trusting research relationships with individual refugees coming to terms with life in exile. Refugees themselves have played an integral part in the innovative research design which has evolved in response to their contributions. The research demonstrates that, contrary to some stereotypes, refugees endeavour to be proactive social actors. This counters the predominant assumption of refugee dependency. Furthermore, the research adds to existing work on the social networks of refugees by providing an intimate picture of a small group of refugees. It describes their tactics in meeting practical and emotional needs, describes how these networks spread across continents and from home country to countries of exile, and proposes a new typology based on the strength of network ties

Topics: HN
Publisher: Routledge Journals
Year: 2006
DOI identifier: 10.1080/13691830600704446
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