Special Issue "Integration and Resettlement of Refugees and Forced Migrants"

A special issue of Social Sciences (ISSN 2076-0760). This special issue belongs to the section "International Migration".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 April 2019).

Printed Edition Available!
A printed edition of this Special Issue is available here.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Karen Jacobsen
Website
Guest Editor
The Fletcher School, Tufts University, 160 Packard Ave, Medford, MA 02155, USA
Interests: refugee and migration issues; field methods; Africa; humanitarian assistance; livelihoods in complex emergencies; developing countries
Mr. Charles Simpson
Website
Guest Editor
Feinstein International Center, Tufts University, 114 Curtis Street, Somerville, MA 02144, USA
Interests: refugee integration; urban studies; smuggling and borders

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The United States—among many other refugee-hosting countries—is shifting its longstanding refugee policy towards a less favorable response to refugees through travel bans and other restrictions. At a local level, however, towns are responding differently: Some resist national policy changes by declaring themselves “sanctuary cities,” while others support exclusionary policies. What determines these differences? Do elected politicians set the tone, or do other social and economic factors determine how citizens react? At this local level, what determines refugees’ ability to become integrated in a town?

The Refugees in Towns (RIT) project, based at Tufts University, focuses on refugee and other migrants’ integration experiences by drawing on the local knowledge and perspectives of refugees and citizens living in migrant-hosting towns around the world. Our RIT project gives voice to both refugees and hosts in an effort to deepen our understanding of integration. Since the RIT project began in mid-2017, we have commissioned more than 15 case studies, with another 15 in the pipeline. We are building a publicly available global database of cases to share local knowledge and perspectives about the factors that enable or obstruct integration, and the ways in which migrants and hosts co-exist, adapt, and struggle with integration. Our immediate goal is to support community leaders, aid organizations, and local governments in shaping policy, practice, and interventions, and our long-term goal is to build a theory of integration from the ground up.

In this Special Issue, we invite papers—particularly by refugees or local citizens living in migrant-hosting towns—that explore urban integration. In your experience, how have refugees and citizens interacted in your town? What has been the role of town officials and politicians in enabling or obstructing integration? What has been the social, economic, and cultural impact of migration on the town, and how have locals responded? We invite short papers (no more than 10–15 pages) that reflect a broad range of experiences from both refugee and non-refugee perspectives.

Prof. Karen Jacobsen
Mr. Charles Simpson
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • Refugees
  • Immigrants
  • Urban
  • Integration
  • Resettlement
  • Cities
  • Towns

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
The Linguistic Integration of Refugees in Italy
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(10), 284; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8100284 - 10 Oct 2019
Abstract
The creation of laws regarding the linguistic integration of migrants has contributed to the change in Italian language teaching, which has had to adapt its materials and methodology to migrants. However, the specific case of refugees has not been specifically assessed, with the [...] Read more.
The creation of laws regarding the linguistic integration of migrants has contributed to the change in Italian language teaching, which has had to adapt its materials and methodology to migrants. However, the specific case of refugees has not been specifically assessed, with the exception of experimentation with the Council of Europe toolkit for refugees. This paper aimed to study the linguistic integration of adult refugees in Italy by conducting an ethnography through participant observation and semi-structured interviews between Italian language teachers and refugees. The results of this work show both the teachers’ perceptions of the refugees’ linguistic integration and the refugees’ perceptions of linguistic integration practice. The conclusions highlight the need for more hours of Italian language courses as well as lessons based on specific integration needs. Moreover, this study emphasizes that the integration practice itself implies language learning. A final consideration is made concerning the current integration situation of refugees in Italy. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Integration in the Shadow of Austerity—Refugees in Newcastle upon Tyne
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(7), 212; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8070212 - 08 Jul 2019
Abstract
Newcastle upon Tyne, a post-industrial city in the North East of England, has long been committed to hosting refugees. Although the city has suffered drastic cuts in government funding and faces high levels of deprivation, Newcastle declared itself a city of sanctuary and [...] Read more.
Newcastle upon Tyne, a post-industrial city in the North East of England, has long been committed to hosting refugees. Although the city has suffered drastic cuts in government funding and faces high levels of deprivation, Newcastle declared itself a city of sanctuary and participates in several dispersal schemes for asylum seekers and refugees. This paper shows how political support as well as the self-motivating ambition to be a city of sanctuary are driving forces behind the city’s commitment to hosting refugees. This study then proceeds to explore the integration experiences of refugees in Newcastle, with a focus on housing, employment and the relations between refugees and local residents. While an overall positive picture emerges across these areas, language barriers, the refusal to accept refugees’ previous qualifications and experiences of racism remain major obstacles to integration. Moreover, the gulf in funding and support between resettled refugees and former asylum seekers greatly aggravates the latter’s access to housing and employment and contributes to a lower feeling of safety among this group. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Formal Education of Asylum Seeker Children in Belgrade, Serbia: Expanded Meaning of Social Inclusion
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(7), 211; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8070211 - 06 Jul 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Formal education of asylum seeker children in Serbia officially started in September 2017, when the consequences of European border regime became more obvious. In spite of the official attitude that Serbia is a transit country, there was a pressure to improve integration policies [...] Read more.
Formal education of asylum seeker children in Serbia officially started in September 2017, when the consequences of European border regime became more obvious. In spite of the official attitude that Serbia is a transit country, there was a pressure to improve integration policies regarding migration, since a lot of people wanting to seek asylum in European Union have remained in Serbia for months. Educational inclusion is the aspect of asylum seekers’ integration in which the most resources and effort was invested. In this article, I try to define the notions of social and educational inclusion in relation to integration policies of asylum seekers coming from different cultural backgrounds and in relation to existing educational inclusion policies. Full article
Open AccessArticle
The Asylum Seekers in Non-Metropolitan Areas in France: Between Temporary Integration and Leading to Autonomy. The Case of the Ambertois Territory
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(7), 210; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8070210 - 05 Jul 2019
Abstract
This article focuses on the integration process of people seeking asylum in non-metropolitan areas in France. It conceptualizes the reception of asylum seekers involving two interrelated approaches: the utilitarian approach and the humanitarian approach. This article is based on surveys, participatory and sensitive [...] Read more.
This article focuses on the integration process of people seeking asylum in non-metropolitan areas in France. It conceptualizes the reception of asylum seekers involving two interrelated approaches: the utilitarian approach and the humanitarian approach. This article is based on surveys, participatory and sensitive cartography, and participant observation conducted in the Ambertois territory between 2017 and 2018. I find the Ambertois territory can be considered a “fragile space,” particularly in terms of demographics, with difficulties in maintaining public services. These difficulties are risks for asylum seekers, and are impacting the urban space. These risks are intensified by the national and regional level policies like the recent reform of the asylum and immigration act on the one hand, and the suffering they experienced throughout their migratory journey on the other. Faced with these risks, local synergies, which facilitate the integration of asylum seekers, are emerging from local actors. This integration is temporary and is considered by local actors as leading to the autonomy of asylum seekers. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
“And Slowly, the Integration and the Growing and the Learning”: Nuanced Notions of Integration of Bhutanese Refugees in US Cities
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(6), 181; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8060181 - 11 Jun 2019
Abstract
Policy related to refugee integration focuses on economic factors, while integration is not clearly operationalized nor is it being systematically measured and tracked in policy implementation. This study poses the question, how can local-level integration be conceptualized based on the perspectives of resettled [...] Read more.
Policy related to refugee integration focuses on economic factors, while integration is not clearly operationalized nor is it being systematically measured and tracked in policy implementation. This study poses the question, how can local-level integration be conceptualized based on the perspectives of resettled refugees, to add nuance to policy. Using a case study approach with a nation-wide scale, data include 40 interviews and five focus groups with leaders of Bhutanese refugee-run organizations in 35 cities across the United States. Findings illustrate the importance of bonds, bridges and links in non-linear, relational integration. Findings also suggest that better access to services and resources is the responsibility of policy-makers and would lead to stronger bridges over time. This complicates existing policy and implies that resettlement programming should remain individualized and contextual from the ground level to the national level. Full article
Open AccessArticle
The Syrian Canadian Sports Club: A Community-Based Participatory Action Research Project with/for Syrian Youth Refugees
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(6), 163; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8060163 - 28 May 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
In this paper, we share the rationale, process, and results related to a community-based participatory action research (PAR) project in which we, among other things, aimed to attend to the underrepresentation of newcomer youth in community sport and recreation pursuits. By way of [...] Read more.
In this paper, we share the rationale, process, and results related to a community-based participatory action research (PAR) project in which we, among other things, aimed to attend to the underrepresentation of newcomer youth in community sport and recreation pursuits. By way of engaging with one rural county’s Syrian youth refugee population while also attending closely to a social ecological framework, we first identified obstacles and opportunities related to multiple systems (i.e., individual, social/interpersonal, organizational/community, public policy). Drawing upon multiple data sources (i.e., photos and photovoice, participants’ drawings and notes, participant-researchers’ field notes, and focus group interviews) to inform our subsequent plan-act-observe-reflect action research cycles, we and our Syrian youth participants co-created and implemented the Syrian Youth Sports Club. In addition to describing the rationale and process related to this Syrian Youth Sports Club, we focus herein upon the results, which primarily relate to participants’ experiences becoming (physically literate) and belonging. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
“Wir Schaffen Das!”? Spatial Pitfalls of Neighborhood-Based Refugee Reception in Germany—A Case Study of Frankfurt-Rödelheim
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(5), 161; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8050161 - 27 May 2019
Abstract
Refugee reception in Germany is a primarily municipal task that relies heavily on neighborhood-based volunteering. This paper asserts that there are fundamental spatial mismatches between municipal policies and neighborhood-based approaches that place additional burden on all of the stakeholders involved. Drawing from the [...] Read more.
Refugee reception in Germany is a primarily municipal task that relies heavily on neighborhood-based volunteering. This paper asserts that there are fundamental spatial mismatches between municipal policies and neighborhood-based approaches that place additional burden on all of the stakeholders involved. Drawing from the case of Frankfurt-Rödelheim, which is a socially and ethnically mixed neighborhood in Frankfurt am Main, I show how the way the municipality accommodates refugees disregards the politically embraced work of neighborhood-based volunteers and how the ideal of neighborhood-based inclusion creates a spatial fetish that fails the living reality of the refugees. The findings are based on my ethnographic fieldwork as volunteer in a neighborhood-based welcome initiative. Full article
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