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EXPLORING A SENSE OF BELONGING AMONGST AFRICAN REFUGEES IN THE NORTH OF ENGLAND: WHAT INFLUENCES PARTICIPATION AND ENGAGEMENT

Bangura, Alpha Omar (2019) EXPLORING A SENSE OF BELONGING AMONGST AFRICAN REFUGEES IN THE NORTH OF ENGLAND: WHAT INFLUENCES PARTICIPATION AND ENGAGEMENT. Masters thesis, University of Huddersfield.

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Abstract

The purpose of this research was to explore a sense of belonging amongst African refugees in the North of England and what facilitates their participation and engagement. Using a narrative approach, auto-recorded semi structured interviews lasting between an hour to an hour and thirty minutes were conducted with 12 participants. Participants were accessed through two refugee organisations in two urban cities in the North of England. The findings from a thematic data analysis indicated participants express an orientation towards belonging in the UK. However, experiences of discrimination based on their perceived ‘refugee-ness’, ‘race’ and religious faith are expressed as barriers to developing a sense of belonging. The findings also suggested interactions and participating in certain spaces and places facilitate a sense of belonging. These include employment, sport arenas, school grounds and university, and religious spaces. Analysis also indicated a transnational belonging amongst participants by expressing simultaneous attachments to both their countries of origin and the UK. Media and political representations of refugees and asylum seekers were reported as a hindrance towards developing a sense of belonging due to labelling, selective reporting and generalisation of news reports on asylum seekers and refugees. Exclusionary asylum policies such as limited length of stay, detentions, restrictions on work and higher education are a barrier to participation and engagement in the UK. The notion of citizenship was not found to facilitate a sense of belonging. Participants perceptions and meaning of citizenship attainment are focused on the freedom to travel, rights and access to services and the citizenship requirements. The research findings illustrate the need for a focus on addressing the feelings of exclusion and discrimination to facilitate social cohesion rather than the implementations and imposition of stringent and exclusionary policies with the hope of facilitating social cohesion.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Schools: School of Human and Health Sciences
Depositing User: Rebecca Hill
Date Deposited: 24 May 2019 08:03
Last Modified: 24 May 2019 08:03
URI: http://eprints.hud.ac.uk/id/eprint/34884

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