Kurdish refugee communities : the diaspora in Finland and England
This thesis describes the social organisation of Kurdish refugee communities and is a contribution to the theoretical discussion of the concept of diaspora. Field research methods were used in this comparative sociological study among Kurdish refugees from Turkey, Iraq and Iran, who live in exile in Finland and England. The writer uses rich ethnographic material to describe the social organisation of the Kurdish refugee communities. The thesis introduces new arguments about, and suggests a rethinking of, the process of integration among refugees. In many different ways refugees living in exile have a continuous relation to their societies of origin. The thesis describes various transnational social relations and networks among the Kurdish refugees. It is argued that the Kurds in exile can be regarded as a diaspora. The concept of diaspora highlights the refugees' continuous relation to their countries of origin. However, the transnational social networks and associations can also be important resources for the refugees in their new country of settlement. There is also reason to remember the importance of social structures and exclusionary policies in the country of settlement. The comparison of the two different countries of settlement shows that these structures and policies have a great impact on how the refugees will be integrated into the receiving society. It is argued that a study of refugee communities needs to take into account refugees' relations to both the society of origin and the society of settlement. The writer emphasises that a diaspora can be understood as a transnational social organisation relating both to the country of origin and the country of settlement. Thus, it is argued that the concept of diaspora is a useful analytical tool for an understanding of the transnational social reality in which refugees live.