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The impact of Information and Communication Technologies on the settlement of Iranian refugees in Australia

Shariati, Saeed (2019) The impact of Information and Communication Technologies on the settlement of Iranian refugees in Australia. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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This research investigated the impact of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) on Iranian refugee settlement in Australia. To date, little research has been undertaken related to ICT literacy of Iranian refugees and the reasons behind the usage. The primary focus was on access and use of ICT; in particular, the ways Iranian refugees in Australia find and share information online to improve their settlement.

This study applied Multi-Sited Ethnography (MSE) as a qualitative methodology with a thematic analysis drawing on semi-structured interviews with two groups of participants (Iranian refugees and those with a role of assisting refugees). Historically, Iranian migration to Australia was minimal and mostly consisted of economic migrants and students. However, this migration pattern was affected by the Islamic revolution in 1979, as it now includes forced migration of Iranian refugees.

The study identified the issues associated with settlement, such as language, employment and the differences in culture, social norms and laws between the homeland and the hostland. The findings show the vital role ICT play in refugees’ day-to-day life as they settle into their new surroundings. ICT assist refugees to become less isolated, less marginalised and more a part of mainstream society. ICT support improvements in their education, training and employment as well as helping them maintain ties with their homeland.

The research contributes to the body of knowledge by shedding light on the issues faced by Iranian refugees through their use of ICT. The findings may improve their settlement process through the creation of an ICT-based settlement model for use by government and non-government organisations that provide support for Iranian refugees. This offers an opportunity for refugees to reconstruct their social identity, enable them to participate in the Australian community, and gain a new sense of belonging.

The results of this study could be applied to refugees of different backgrounds in Australia and for Iranian refugees in other countries. Future research could investigate the digital divide between refugees in Australia and mainstream Australians.

Keywords: ICT, MSE, refugees, migration, settlement

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor(s): Armarego, Jocelyn and Sudweeks, Fay
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