‘Having a good friend, a good neighbour, can help you find yourself’: social capital and integration for people from refugee and asylum-seeking backgrounds in Australia

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Abstract

Social networks and access to resources are important to refugee integration but there is limited research with people from refugee and asylum-seeking backgrounds. This mixed methods paper reports on the social capital of refugees and asylum seekers and relevance to settlement satisfaction and integration. Surveys were completed by 423 adult refugees and asylum seekers living in South Australia. Additionally, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 65 participants, purposively sampled from the survey, and analysed thematically. The survey indicated that satisfaction with social networks (neighbourhood, ethnic/cultural and general) was associated with satisfaction with social support, which were in turn associated with a sense of belonging and overall happiness with life in Australia. The interviews illustrated how bonding and bridging ties facilitated access to resources by providing emotional support, a sense of belonging and hope, and safety and security through friendship and connection, and the provision of practical support. However, there were limited linking ties and differing access to social capital across characteristics such as region of origin, immigration status, financial situation, English skills, and time in Australia, which can contribute to inequities over time. Overall, our findings highlight the importance of facilitating access to social capital to assist with resettlement and integration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3877-3899
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Ethnic and Migration Studies
Volume49
Issue number15
Early online date22 Mar 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Keywords

  • asylum seeker
  • integration
  • refugee
  • resettlement
  • social capital
  • support

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