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Title: Sent to Coventry : the role played by social networks in the settlement of dispersed Congolese asylum seekers
Author: Murray, Fraser
ISNI:       0000 0004 7430 8104
Awarding Body: Oxford Brookes University
Current Institution: Oxford Brookes University
Date of Award: 2015
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The interplay between the UK’s asylum policies and the response by asylum seekers in cultivating friendship ties and social networks is the focus of this thesis. The importance of this research lies in how it demonstrates the way friendship ties develop among dispersed asylum seekers and how they are integral in bridging the void between asylum legislation and the refugee experience. As a result of asylum policies and their implementation, a liminal space emerges which asylum seekers are forced to inhabit while awaiting a decision on their asylum claim. This research is based on a framework that identifies how UK asylum policy shapes this liminal space and its relationship to the refugee experience. Building on existing academic research focused on contrasting bridges which offer asylum seekers a means of mediating passage, this thesis presents friendship ties and social networks as highly adaptable mechanisms. Such mechanisms function alongside both state-supported structures and RCOs but, more importantly, compensate for the shortcomings of both in terms of service provision. Based in Coventry, a dispersal city, the research provides an original angle, focusing on Congolese asylum seekers who have never previously formed the basis of study in the UK. It shows how asylum seekers’ daily lives are affected by the asylum regime and how they develop friendship ties and social networks as a means of mitigating the difficulties of living in the UK. By providing rich and nuanced accounts of asylum seekers friendship development---the dynamics and longevity of these friendships---the research puts the experiences of asylum seekers within the context of the refugee experience and presents how the imposition of dispersal forces asylum seekers to develop alternate strategies to survive. These strategies are led by key individuals who support others in forming, developing and mobilising social networks and social capital.
Supervisor: Brownill, Sue ; Sigona, Nando Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral