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Title: The use and formation of social networks among asylum seekers and refugees in Northern Ireland
Author: Quail, Brendan Joseph
ISNI:       0000 0004 6499 936X
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2017
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This thesis analyses the use and formation of social networks among the asylum seeker and refugee population in Northern Ireland. The social network perspective considers the phenomenon of migration as being socially embedded and places social relationships as its most important feature. Whilst the significance of social networks within migration theory remains paramount, contemporary empirical research has shown a shift in how they are utilised in response to wider social and political contexts. Social networks that traditionally supported asylum migration are argued to have lost their potency as 'new geographies' of asylum migration have been emerging. It is within this context that this thesis considers asylum migration to Northern Ireland and provides a deeper understanding of the significance of social networks. The anticipatory and transit phases of migration are investigated and are followed by an analysis of the initial resettlement and formative integration of asylum seekers and refugess currently residing in Northern Ireland. This research employs a qualitative methodology, multi-pronged in focus and encompassing semi-structured interviews, diary studies, focus groups and participant observation with members of Northern Ireland's asylum seeker and refugee population. Additionally, interviews with representatives from a range of refugee support organisations are utilised to provide broader background and context to Northern Ireland as a terminus. The research shows that an absence of 'migrant networks' and an inability to use legal channels of migration frequently necessitates the use of human-smugglers to enable migrant travel. Where strong ties fail to facilitate asylum migration and non-commercial 'weak' ties have limited scope, it is predominantly 'weak' commercial ties with smugglers which deliver the desired outcome. As a result, Northern Ireland has become a destination of chance and not choice.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available