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Title: The social networks of refugees : a sociological investigation of the processes of relationship building in ESOL in the further education context
Author: Dimitriadou, Anastasia
ISNI:       0000 0004 2702 0474
Awarding Body: Institute of Education, University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2010
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This thesis argues that social relationships, developed between refugee and migrant students in the ESOLIFE college environment, can provide individual refugees with resources that can positively impact on refugees' integration into British society. The rationale of this study is based on the recognition of refugees' increased need for communication and friendship building and the lack of consideration, so far, of their relations with ESOL students from different ethnicities, as they develop through the acquisition of the English language. The theoretical framework of this study has been informed by social networks and social capital theory, within which social capital is perceived as a resource that derives from social relationships. The study has been developed and presented through the experiences and perspectives of refugees. Its methodology is based on case study, mixed methods design. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews, a survey and participant observation in ESOL classrooms of two London FE colleges. The findings highlight that refugee ESOL students do build friendships with other ESOL students from their group and to a lesser extent with students from other groups at their college. Factors that have been identified to influence the process of relationship building include gender, age, and marital status, as well as refugees' presence of their nuclear family in London and their association with the ethnic community. Although with the passing of time refugees' English language skills improve, time does not strongly affect the formation of new friendships, but has a positive impact on existing relationships. Finally, the benefits deriving from the ESOL network that may further refugees' socio-economic integration have been identified as knowledge, information and qualifications, which constitute the social capital developed in the ESOL network. However, the refugee experience, changes in the family structure and participation in the ethnic community may impact on the recognition and utilisation of these gains as potential resources that can further the socio-economic integration of refugees into British society.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available