Journal of International Migration and Integration

, Volume 17, Issue 4, pp 1125–1142 | Cite as

Education as Cultural Capital and its Effect on the Transitional Issues Faced by Migrant Women in the Diaspora

  • Beatrice Akua-SakyiwahEmail author


This article discusses the impact of Somali habitus and symbolic violence on the decisions of resettled Somali refugee women in the UK to obtain an education, which leads to employment. I highlight the significance of employment to their resettlement success and cultural capital. However, cultural capital continues to be unattainable in their host country because it was not present in Somalia. Self-sufficiency is a primary element of resettlement but depends heavily upon learning the host country’s language, which requires classes, time and a complete paradigm shift. Using Bourdieu’s cultural capital/symbolic violence as a framework, I discuss the dilemma these women faced in trying to attain cultural capital in their host country, and how a lack of it impacts upon their resettlement. Additionally, the norms of Somali patriarchal society exclude both girls and women from education, leading to illiteracy in English and, for most of the participants, in the Somali language. The research highlights the challenges faced by the women in their attempts to navigate the UK’s elite socio-cultural economy.


Diaspora Trans-migration experiences Cultural capital Habitus Symbolic violence Integration Settlement and patriarchy 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of YorkYorkUK
  2. 2.School of Performing ArtsUniversity of GhanaLegonGhana

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