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    2012. Race, Housing & Community.


Refugees, Acculturation Strategies, Stress and Integration

  • DOI:
  • Published online: 09 December 2010

The advent of super-diversity and politicisation of migration has been accompanied by heightened interest in migrant settlement. Much has been written in policy and academic fields about the importance of integration, particularly in relation to the settlement of refugees. However, little attention has been paid to the varied settlement experiences of individual refugees, or how personal, cultural and experiential factors combine to influence settlement experiences. This paper turns to cross-cultural psychology's discussion of acculturation processes and, in particular, Berry's acculturation strategies (Berry, 1997) to look at the different factors that influence acculturation and how these factors impact upon the ability of individual refugees to integrate. Using qualitative data collected from 138 interviews with refugees living in Birmingham, England, the paper shows how a range of group and individual factors, relating to their experiences both in refugees’ home and host countries, influences the acculturation strategies adopted by different refugees. It shows that in the current policy environment many refugees lack choice about acculturation strategy, are vulnerable to psychosocial stress and struggle to integrate.

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J.W. Berry (1997), ‘Immigration, acculturation and adaptation’, Applied Psychology: An International Review, 46: 1, 568.

J. Berry , U. Kim , T. Minde and D. Mok (1987), ‘Comparative studies of accultrative stress’, International Migration Review, 21: 491511.

S. Bhatia and A. Ram (2001), ‘Rethinking acculturation in relation to diasporic cultures and postcolonial identities’, Human Development, 44: 117

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J. Phillimore and, L. Goodson (2008), ‘Making a place in the global city – the relevance of indicators of integration’, Journal of Refugee Studies, 21: 305–25.

D. Phillips (2006), ‘Moving towards integration: the housing of asylum seekers and refugees in Britain’, Housing Studies, 21: 4, 539–53.

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P. Stenner , M. Barnes and D. Taylor (2008), ‘Psychosocial welfare: contributions to an emerging field’, Critical Social Policy, 28: 4, 411–14.

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C. Watters (2001), ‘Emerging paradigms in the mental health care of refugees’, Social Science and Medicine, 52: 1709–18.

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Journal of Social Policy
  • ISSN: 0047-2794
  • EISSN: 1469-7823
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-social-policy
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