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"Active" and "Passive" Resettlement: The Influence of Support Services and Refugees' own Resources on Resettlement Style

Colic-Peisker, V. and Tilbury, F. (2003) "Active" and "Passive" Resettlement: The Influence of Support Services and Refugees' own Resources on Resettlement Style. International Migration, 41 (5). pp. 61-92.

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This paper explores the process of resettlement among recent refugees in Perth, Western Australia. We propose four refugee resettlement styles created through the interaction of a number of factors. These factors can be clustered as: (1) the social features of refugees (their human, social, and cultural capital), and (2) the host society's responses to refugee settlers (Australia's resettlement policy and services and the broader influence of the host society's responses to refugees). We propose that refugees approach their resettlement in predominantly active ("achievers" and "consumers") or passive ("endurers" and "victims") ways and that these are differentially successful strategies. Medicalization of the refugee experience in Australia is a factor that may influence refugees to adopt a passive "victim role", so we propose that a greater emphasis during early resettlement should be placed on refugees' own culturally defined priorities such as employment and stable housing. The argument developed in this paper is supported by data from two qualitative research projects conducted in Western Australia. The fieldwork consisted of interviews, focus groups, and participant observation, and targeted refugees from the former Yugoslavia and the Horn of Africa who arrived in Australia during the 1990s and 2000s, as well as resettlement service providers.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Psychology
School of Social Inquiry
Publisher: Blackwell Publishing Inc.
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