Refugees, Asylum-Seekers and Integration
The concept of integration is often used in academic literature, policy discussions, the media and everyday conversations when discussing the experiences of migrants. Despite (or perhaps because of) its wide use, the term is used in a variety of ways, some of which are contradictory. The word may be used in ways that are vague, and as highlighted by the above quote from Castles and colleagues (2002), this raises questions about what people are meant to integrate into exactly. Given its versatility and prominence, this chapter explores how the notion of ‘integration’ is used among people who are involved in this process, as asylum-seekers and refugees who experience ‘integration’ at first hand, as professionals who assist asylum-seekers and refugees with ‘integration’, and as local members of the community who do (or do not) ‘integrate’ with asylum-seekers and refugees in their area. By analysing the ways in which it is used, we should gain a better understanding of the rhetorical force of this concept as well as how certain accounts function to sustain, criticize or alter policies and social relations between asylum-seekers, refugees and local members of the host society.
KeywordsLocal Community Local People Housing Policy Alcohol Misuse Host Society
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