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Moving beyond ‘refugeeness’: problematising the ‘refugee community organisation’

Piacentini, Teresa (2012) Moving beyond ‘refugeeness’: problematising the ‘refugee community organisation’. Working Paper. University of Birmingham, Birmingham.


URL of Published Version: http://www.tsrc.ac.uk/Research/BelowtheRadarBtR/Movingbeyondrefugeeness/tabid/943/Default.aspx


This paper explores processes of change and development within asylum seeker and refugee-led associations in Glasgow. I argue that adopting a life-cycle approach to association emergence and continuity (Werbner 1991a: 15) provides a more rounded and sophisticated understanding of not only the factors giving rise to such groups, but also of processes of change within groups. By problematising the ‘refugee community organisation’ label, I suggest that the focus on ‘refugeeness’ fails to attend to internal diversity, specifically relating to changing and differentiated immigration status within such associations. Exploring an externally constructed fictive unity using Werbner’s framework provides one way to challenge these effects. Rather than see this framework as made up of linear stages, I argue that groups move through and between stages of associative empowerment, ideological convergence and mobilisation simultaneously and that features differentiating stages may be co-present. This paper is relevant for policy-makers, practitioners and third sector organisations and can aid thinking about how to move beyond labels in approaching broader questions, practices and experiences of ‘settlement’, integration, belonging and social cohesion.

Type of Work:Monograph (Working Paper)
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
Department:Third Sector Research Centre

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Date:18 June 2012
Series/Collection Name:TSRC Working Paper Series
Keywords:RCOs; refugeeness; community life-cycle; community groups; sustainability; settlement and integration.
Subjects:H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Related URLs:
Funders:Economic and Social Research Council, Office for Civil Society, Barrow Cadbury Trust
Copyright Holders:Third Sector Research Centre
ID Code:1782

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