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Seeking Asylum - Finding a Home? A qualitative study on asylum seekers' integration in two different housing contexts
Örebro University, School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences.
2020 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The overall aim of this thesis is to contribute to our sociological understanding of integration by exploring how asylum seekers in Sweden make sense of their own position in relation to the society they are living in. Integration is conceptualised as a mutual process, the end goal of which is equal participation and belonging to a given society. Syrian refugees were interviewed on two occasions in order to follow their integration process as they moved from the precariousness as asylum seekers to the relative stability as residents. The thesis also aims to explore what role different housing forms have in shaping their integration process, and the interviews were conducted in two locations: one dominated by Migration Agency housing (ABO) the other by ‘own housing’ (EBO). EBO is often portrayed as an ‘integration problem’ but when such arguments are made, the asylum seeker’s perspective is rarely considered. This study addresses this shortcoming and asks: How do asylum seekers make sense of their integration process? What obstacles and opportunities do they experience in this process? What role does the type of housing, and its context, play in this process?

Using Ager and Strang’s ten core domains of integration as an analytical framework, the study shows how asylum seekers’ access to participation is severely limited, not least because they lack the foundation of formal rights. A residence permit does offer a sense of stability in this respect, but stability in other domains is still elusive. Social connections, employment and housing are central domains where stability in one domain often has to be sacrificed to achieve stability in another.

Viewing these results through the lens of classical sociology, and the concepts ‘community’ and ‘society’, shows how the participants make sense of integration on a more abstract level. Society, defined as a sense of belonging based on contribution (through paid work), was important in both locations. Community, defined as a sense of belonging based on similarity, was emphasised more in the EBO location. However, portraying this as an ‘integration problem’, as is often done in policy, misses the complexity of the situation and the ‘solutions’ presented risk being counterproductive.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Örebro: Örebro University , 2020. , p. 333
Series
Örebro Studies in Sociology, ISSN 1650-2531 ; 22
Keywords [en]
Refugee, migration, residence permit, belonging, work, social capital, integration policy, housing policy, segregation, dispersal, Sweden
National Category
Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-78540ISBN: 978-91-7529-336-3 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-78540DiVA, id: diva2:1376889
Public defence
2020-05-29, Örebro universitet, Forumhuset, Hörsal F, Fakultetsgatan 1, Örebro, 13:15 (Swedish)
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Available from: 2019-12-10 Created: 2019-12-10 Last updated: 2020-05-06Bibliographically approved

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Sandström, Lina

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