“Just say hi”: Forced migrants’ constructions of local neighbourhoods as spaces of inclusion and exclusion in South Wales

Samuel Parker, Josephine Cornell

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Abstract

    Integration is often assumed to be a public good and both UK and devolved governments have developed refugee integration strategies to address this aspiration. Within these strategies the development of social bridges with members of the host society is seen as a key indicator of integration, however the local neighbourhood is often neglected in research. This paper reports the findings of a discursive psychological analysis of interviews with 19 refugees and asylum seekers about their integration in Wales, UK. It focuses on the ways in which participants discursively constructed accounts of their neighbourhood relationships. The analysis highlights the importance of looking at the ways in which place is characterised by refugees and asylum seekers and the implications that this has for the kind of person who does, or does not, belong in that place. We demonstrate that most participants constructed their accounts using a discourse of "just saying hi" and suggest that in using such a repertoire participants went to rhetorical lengths to construct themselves as respecting the normative principles of interaction amongst neighbours. Participants lives were largely circumscribed within the home and neighbourhoods were positioned as banal spaces in which stability take precedence over closer relationships with neighbours. The findings suggest that asylum dispersal policy of accommodation on a "no-choice" basis and the use of housing in "difficult to let" areas may be actively impeding other policies aimed at refugee integration.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number100147
    JournalCurrent Research in Ecological and Social Psychology
    Volume5
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished (VoR) - 9 Aug 2023

    Keywords

    • Refugees
    • Asylum seekers
    • Integration
    • Belonging
    • Discursive psychology

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