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Title: Gains, losses and changes : resettlement of Somali women refugees in London and Toronto
Author: Hopkins, Gail.
Awarding Body: University of Sussex
Current Institution: University of Sussex
Date of Award: 2005
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The focus of this thesis is the lives of Somali women who are resettling in London and Toronto,, having been displaced as a result of over twenty years of conflict and instability in Somalia. The thesis is based on fieldwork undertaken in these two urban locations, during which time data was gathered using semi-structured interviews with this specific group of Somali women. Within the first three chapters (I - 3), an outline is presented of Somalia as a refugee producing region which provides an understanding of prior experiences of violence and trauma. These chapters help to contextualise the material presented on the basis that prior experiences inform the resettlement choices and priorities of the women interviewed. They situate the refugee experience within a broader migration context whilst also drawing attention to the specific vulnerabilities and obstacles particularly faced by women seeking asylum, obstacles which result from the perpetration of gendered persecution and the lack of gender-specificity in the wording of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees. These chapters also lay the foundation for later discussion of the maintenance and renewal of concepts of 'home' and identity which develop through new and old cultural contacts. Based on the women's personal testimonies, the empirical chapters (4 - 8) then explore the barriers and issues faced by Somali women in resettlement, and their successesa nd limitations in negotiating their new environment. Consciously and unconsciously countering stereotypes and breaking boundaries, many Somali women are able to exercise choice and exert agency in unseen and unappreciated ways. These and other gains experienced in Britain and Canada are balanced by losses experienced through the lack of extended family support and increasing alienation from, and shiffing concepts of, 'home'. Working against a conceptualization of refugee women as victims, the thesis puts forward evidence challenging an overarching concept of victimhood with one which recognizes the processual and individual nature of resettlement. As a collection of individual experiences, this research does not attempt to make generalizations about all Somali women refugees. The testimonials do, however, allow an analytical hypothesis to be formed which contributes valuable information on individual's aspirations, motivations and evaluations which enrich and complement existing knowledge of refugee resettlement.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available