Chapter

Social networks and belonging

Patricia Hynes

in The dispersal and social exclusion of asylum seekers

Published by Policy Press

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9781847423269
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447303749 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1332/policypress/9781847423269.003.0007
Social networks and belonging

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This chapter explores the social networks of asylum seekers, and in particular how these are created and maintained during the asylum and dispersal processes. It utilises Marx's (1990) continuum from total destruction to persistence of social networks over space and time. It shows the quality of social networks to be important and attention is paid to the more intangible benefits of these networks. It argues that, for those asylum seekers who have recourse to social networks, this is the most important way in which they create a sense of ‘belonging’ in the absence of political belonging. It further argues that for those without this recourse, processes of ‘remaking’ belonging are seen. It suggests that gaining a sense of belonging involves a trajectory of different social networks that, over time, shift asylum seekers away from the stigma of the asylum seeker label. It challenges an inherent assumption within the dispersal policy that secondary migration is a negative outcome of dispersal.

Keywords: social networks; asylum seekers; dispersal processes; belonging; dispersal; secondary migration

Chapter.  12503 words. 

Subjects: Migration Studies

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