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Social capital and refugee resettlement: The social networks of refugees in Canada

  • Navjot K. Lamba
  • Harvey Krahn
Articles

Abstract

Survey data from a large sample of recent refugees (N=525) living in Canada are used to profile the size and structure of refugees' social networks and to highlight the value (or function) of such social capital in the resettlement process. Despite the traumas associated with becoming a refugee, most adult refugees remain part of at least some familial networks. A large minority are connected with more extented family networks, and almost half plant to build these networks by sponsoring other family members. As resettlement continues, more extensive extra-familial networks involving neighbours, co-workers and employers, other community members, and a wide range of service providers are constructed. These many formal and informal social networks are extremely valuable, providing much-needed support and assistance when refugees are faced with financial, employment, personal, or health problems. Policy challenges arising from these findings are discussed.

Key words

Refugees Resettlement Social networks Social capital Refugee policy 

Résumé

Les données d'un sondage auprès d'un grand échantillon (N=525) de réfugiés fraîchement ètablis au Canada servent à établir un profil de la taille et de la structure des réseaux sociaux des réfugiés et à souligner la valeur (ou la fonction) de ce capital social dans le processus de réinstallation. Malgré les traumatismes allant de pair avec le passage à l'état de réfugié, la plupart des réfugiés adultes continuent à faire partie d'un réseau familial au moins partiel. Parmi eux, une minorité importante est reliée à des réseaux de famille étendue et près de la moitié compte étoffer ces réseaux en parrainant d'autres membres de la famille. Au fil de la réinstallation, il se constitue des réseaux plus étendus qui vont au-delà de la famille pour inclure les voisins, les collègues et les employeurs, d'autres membres de la communauté et toute une gamme de prestataires de services. Ces nombreux réseaux sociaux officiels et officieux sont vitaux, car ils fournissent un soutient et une aide précieux quand les réfugiés doivent faire face à des problèmes de finances, d'emploi, de santé ou de caractère personnel. Suit une discussion des implications de ces constatations en matière de choix de politiques.

Mots-clefs

Réfugiés Réétablissement Réseaux sociaux Capital social Politiques relatives aux réfugiés 

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Copyright information

© Springer SBM 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Navjot K. Lamba
    • 1
  • Harvey Krahn
    • 1
  1. 1.University of AlbertaAlbextaCanada

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