Beyond the refugee label : identity and agency among Somali refugees

 

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dc.contributor.advisor Field, Sean en_ZA
dc.contributor.author Buyer, Meritt en_ZA
dc.date.accessioned 2014-09-30T13:40:43Z
dc.date.available 2014-09-30T13:40:43Z
dc.date.issued 2007 en_ZA
dc.identifier.citation Buyer, M. 2007. Beyond the refugee label : identity and agency among Somali refugees. University of Cape Town. en_ZA
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/11427/7790
dc.description Includes abstract.|Includes bibliographical references (leaves 99-103). en_ZA
dc.description.abstract As the world refugee population continues to rise, so the debate over how to best assist those who have been displaced intensifies. Humanitarian practices often have a disempowering effect on individuals instead of helping them to become self-sufficient. This problem is compounded by the gap between the realities on the ground and the overarching policies of both governments and organizations. In South Africa, the plethora of social issues, the lack of long-term solutions for refugee resettlement and the unsuccessful implementation of national policies relating to refugees contribute to the xenophobia that has become prevalent across the country. When the xenophobic sentiment turns violent, the Somali community has been targeted in the most extreme ways. Using the oral history methodology, this study draws on 17 life story interviews with Somali refugees residing in the Cape Town area. The interviews focus on the refugees' experience with humanitarian organizations and the government policy of their host country. By exploring their memories of Somalia and their relationship to their homeland, as well as their experiences in exile, it becomes evident that the Somalis' personal histories impact on how they negotiate the different forms of assistance that are available, or the lack thereof. Those who have had little control over their own lies in the past continue to have greater difficulty reaching their financial and educational goals, integrating onto South African society, and accessing the rights granted to them by law. Those who historically had some amount of agency continue to do so, despite the disempowering effects of mass assistance programs. In order for governments and organizations to be successful in their mission to assist and resettle refugees, they must have a more complete understanding of the history and cultural norms of assistance of the communities with whom they are working, as well as the realities of the current circumstances. The oral history method, with its ability to account for personal subjectivity, narrative authority, and historical agency, allows for in-depth exploration into the impact of policies created by the external bodies of international aid organizations, national governments, and local organizations at the grassroots level. en_ZA
dc.language.iso eng en_ZA
dc.subject.other Historical Studies en_ZA
dc.title Beyond the refugee label : identity and agency among Somali refugees en_ZA
dc.type Thesis / Dissertation en_ZA
uct.type.publication Research en_ZA
uct.type.resource Thesis en_ZA
dc.publisher.institution University of Cape Town
dc.publisher.faculty Faculty of Humanities en_ZA
dc.publisher.department Department of Historical Studies en_ZA
dc.type.qualificationlevel Masters en_ZA
dc.type.qualificationname MA en_ZA
uct.type.filetype Text
uct.type.filetype Image


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