Integration or Isolation? Refugees' Social Connections and Wellbeing

Alison B. Strang, Neil Quinn

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    The Indicators of Integration framework—a conceptual framework defining core domains of refugee integration—has had a significant impact on the discourse surrounding refugee integration and a major role in shaping policy, practice and academic debate. Drawing on an innovative participatory mapping approach, this study examined the social connections of isolated single refugee men from Iran and Afghanistan (highlighted as particularly marginalized) and the implications for their mental health and wellbeing. Findings indicated very low levels of contact with family, local friends or local services, difficulties establishing trust and few opportunities for reciprocal relationships. The article makes an important contribution to the field of refugee integration in a number of ways. It suggests that the role of trust should be made explicit within the Indicators of Integration framework and be included as a ‘Facilitator’ of integration. It challenges Putnam’s simple binary distinction between bonding and bridging relationships and suggests a new conceptualization based on a continuum between bonds and bridges. It offers theoretical innovation by bringing together the concept of reciprocity with Hobfoll’s resource-conservation model to offer new insights into the way domains of the Framework interact. Its important contribution is in critiquing Putnam’s reliance on the idealization of community solidarity and suggesting conceptualizations of integration must be informed by the impact of intersecting but differentiated communities. Two key priorities emerge for policy and practice: enabling asylum seekers and refugees to develop sufficient close bonding relationships and finding more effective ways of building knowledge and trust of relevant resources and services.
    LanguageEnglish
    Pages1-26
    Number of pages26
    JournalJournal of Refugee Studies
    Early online date29 Jun 2019
    DOIs
    Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 29 Jun 2019

    Fingerprint

    refugee
    social isolation
    asylum seeker
    reciprocity
    mental health
    conceptual framework
    innovation
    Afghanistan
    resources
    solidarity
    Iran
    community
    conservation
    resource
    contact
    discourse
    policy
    indicator
    services

    Keywords

    • refugees
    • social connections
    • mental health
    • social integration

    Cite this

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    title = "Integration or Isolation? Refugees' Social Connections and Wellbeing",
    abstract = "The Indicators of Integration framework—a conceptual framework defining core domains of refugee integration—has had a significant impact on the discourse surrounding refugee integration and a major role in shaping policy, practice and academic debate. Drawing on an innovative participatory mapping approach, this study examined the social connections of isolated single refugee men from Iran and Afghanistan (highlighted as particularly marginalized) and the implications for their mental health and wellbeing. Findings indicated very low levels of contact with family, local friends or local services, difficulties establishing trust and few opportunities for reciprocal relationships. The article makes an important contribution to the field of refugee integration in a number of ways. It suggests that the role of trust should be made explicit within the Indicators of Integration framework and be included as a ‘Facilitator’ of integration. It challenges Putnam’s simple binary distinction between bonding and bridging relationships and suggests a new conceptualization based on a continuum between bonds and bridges. It offers theoretical innovation by bringing together the concept of reciprocity with Hobfoll’s resource-conservation model to offer new insights into the way domains of the Framework interact. Its important contribution is in critiquing Putnam’s reliance on the idealization of community solidarity and suggesting conceptualizations of integration must be informed by the impact of intersecting but differentiated communities. Two key priorities emerge for policy and practice: enabling asylum seekers and refugees to develop sufficient close bonding relationships and finding more effective ways of building knowledge and trust of relevant resources and services.",
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    Integration or Isolation? Refugees' Social Connections and Wellbeing. / Strang, Alison B.; Quinn, Neil.

    In: Journal of Refugee Studies, 29.06.2019, p. 1-26.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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