© 2006

Bosnian Refugees in America

New Communities, New Cultures

  • Unique contribution

  • It emerges from a structured research project and combines aspects of research and sociology or social work

  • Addresses understanding the context of war and resettlement, patterns of social adjustment, and implications for practitioners in refugee communities. Although these are considered for one ethnic group, the Bosnians, the in-depth telling of the story of their resettlement in upstate New York has implications for those working with other groups of refugees and immigrants


Part of the Clinical Sociology: Research and Practice book series (CSRP)

About this book


This book is based on the results of a research project that focused on the lives and experiences of a sample of 100 Bosnian families in an upstate New York community. This particular community has been the site of resettlement of more than 10,000 refugees from many countries between 1979 and 2001, including about 4,000 Bosnian refugees between 1993 and 2001. The book tells the story of the psychological, socio-cultural and economic adaptations of the Bosnian refugees to this community. It considers the effects of the trauma of war, the cultural differences and dislocation that are a part of their experience, the strategies they have used for successful adjustment, and the obstacles they still face in reconciling personal hopes and dreams.

This is a timely and compelling story, much of it told in the words of the Bosnians themselves. The book considers the diverse experiences of urban and rural families before the war and the effects of the timing of their departure from Bosnia upon their experience of resettlement. The relative success of their adaptation is attributed to the consonance between Bosnian attributes and values and the characteristics of the host community. A discussion of sociological and social work practice with refugees includes suggestions for working with newcomers in the years following resettlement in individual, family, and community contexts.


Familie adjustment social work violence

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Sociology Empire State CollegeState University of New YorkUtica
  2. 2.The Arthur Levitt Public Affairs CenterHamilton CollegeClinton

Bibliographic information


From the reviews:

"For those who find Bosnians among their New American neighbors and clients, this book is essential reading. … Couglan and Owens-Manley provide an in-depth look at the history, culture, and stories of the Bosnian refugee population, which results in a deepened understanding of our Bosnian neighbors ... . The suggested interventions make this a practical work in addition to being an informative one. … this volume would contribute significantly to the education of future social work practitioners, particularly in courses designed to teach cultural responsiveness." (Mary Dugan, PsycCRITIQUES, Vol. 51 (28), July, 2006)

"Coughlan and Owens-Manley’s book … have the aim of enabling the reader to understand who the Bosnian refugees are, where they came from and what they lived through and survived, and as a way of interpreting evidence of psychopathology or lesser disturbance which might impact on the resettlement experience. … advance the literature on an important feature of recent European refugee history." (Gregory Kent, British Journal of Educational Technology, Vol. 39 (5), 2008)