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Title: Embedding the Refugee Experience: Forced Migration and Social Networks in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Authors: Willems, Roos
Issue Date: 2003
Abstract: Due to the tragic events in the countries of the Great Lakes region during the 1990s, more than one million refugees have sought a safe haven in Tanzania. Increasing numbers among these, estimated to be in the tens of thousands, resist going to one of the refugee camps and head for Dar es Salaam instead, even if it means foregoing any material assistance from humanitarian agencies and legal residence status from the national authorities in the country of asylum. Living scattered across the Tanzanian metropolis, these forced migrants show their resilience under adverse circumstances by coping with a new language, economic challenges and unfamiliar social environments.
In this process, they rely heavily on their personal social networks, members of which provide them with financial and material assistance as well as emotional support in the form of friendship, advice and companionship. This process of rebuilding their shattered social worlds is analyzed in terms of the gender, nationality and age group of the refugees. The central thesis is that there is no essential refugee experience, and that the coping strategies of refugees are embedded in the social, cultural, economic, political and historical background of the social groups, be they gender, nationality or age groups, that the individual refugees are member of. The principal methodological tool applied to the analysis of the data collected during fieldwork sessions in 2000, 2001 and 2002, is social network analysis. Its findings are contextualized qualitatively by the accounts, life histories and interviews with informants of Congolese, Burundese, Rwandese and Tanzanian origin. Social network analysis is proposed as the tool to situate individual persons' agency and interactions at the micro-level within the structures and infrastructures (including events at the regional, national and international level) constituting the macro-framework.
Table of Contents: CHAPTER 1 CONTEXTUALIZING RESEARCH TOPIC AND CHOICE OF METHODS
1.1 Contextualizing the Research Topic
1.2 Choice of Methods
1.3 In the Field
1.4 Structure of the Dissertation

2 SITUATING THE DISSERTATION PROJECT AND RESEARCH SITE
2.1 Background to the Research Project
2.2 The Research Site: Dar es Salaam
2.3. Conclusion

3 HEADING FOR DAR ES SALAAM
3.1 Localizing Voices
3.2 Leaving Home
3.3 Avoiding the Refugee Camps
3.4 Arriving in Dar Es Salaam
3.5 Prospects of Returning Home
3.6 Emerging Profile(s)

4 ADAPTING TO THE NEW LIFE
4.1 Local Interactions
4.2 Economic Endeavors
4.3 Major Pre-occupations
4.4 Social Worlds
4.5 Concluding Remarks

5 DE-CONSTRUCTING SOCIAL NETWORKS
5.1 The Average Personal Social Network
5.2 Homophily
5.3 Disaggregating Ego
5.4 Disaggregating Alters
5.5 Conclusions

6 EMBEDDING THE REFUGEE EXPERIENCE
6.1 Gender
6.2 Nationality
6.3 Age
6.4 Concluding Remarks

7 REFLECTIONS, PREOCCUPATIONS AND CONSIDERATIONS
7.1 "To aid or not to aid?"
7.2 Positionalities
7.3 Urban Refugees, Social Networks and Forced Migration
7.4 Epilogue

APPENDIX
A MAPS
B TANZANIAN PERCEPTIONS ON REFUGEES IN DAR ES SALAAM
C SOCIAL NETWORKS SURVEY

LIST OF REFERENCES

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: TH
Appears in Collections:Interculturalism, Migration and Minorities Research Centre

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