April 20 2023: RRN Research Digest

The RRN Research Digest provides a synopsis of recent research on refugee and forced migration issues from entities associated with the RRN and others.

You can download the digest in PDF format here: RRN Research Digest No. 136


Ata, A. (2023). Transnational Migration, Diaspora, and Identity: A Study of Kurdish Diaspora in London. This book explores a common but almost forgotten historical argument that positions the Kurds as powerless victims of the First World War (WW1). The author examines Kurdish diaspora integration and identity in some major cities in Sweden, Finland and Germany, with a specific focus and an in-depth discussion on the negotiation of multiculturalism in London. This book uncovers the gaps in the existing literature, and critically highlights the dominance of policy- and politics-driven research in this field, thereby justifying the need for a more radical social constructivist approach by recognizing flexible, multifaceted, and complex human cultural behaviours in different situations through the consideration of the lived experiences and by presenting more direct voices of members of the Kurdish diaspora in London, and by articulating the new and radical concept of Kurdish Londoner. 

Vaswani, M., Sutter, A., Lapshina, N., & Esses, V. M. (2023). Discrimination Experienced by Immigrants, Racialized Individuals, and Indigenous Peoples in Small‐and Mid‐Sized Communities in Southwestern Ontario. Canadian Review of Sociology 60(1), 92-113. The authors investigate discrimination experiences of (1) immigrants and racialized individuals, (2) Indigenous peoples, and (3) comparison White non-immigrants in nine regions of Southwestern Ontario containing small- and mid-sized communities. In most regions, over 80 percent of Indigenous peoples reported experiencing discrimination in the past three years. Over 60 percent of immigrants and racialized individuals in more then half of the regions did so. Indigenous peoples, immigrants and racialized individuals were most likely to experience discrimination in employment and public settings, and were most likely to attribute this discrimination to racial and ethnocultural factors, and for Indigenous peoples, also their Indigenous identity. The findings are critical to creating and implementing effective anti-racism and anti-discrimination strategies.

Gyan, C., Chireh, B., Chuks-Eboka, N., & Yeboah, A. S. (2023). Reconsidering the conceptualization of resilience: the experiences of refugee and immigrant youth in Montreal. Applied research in quality of life, 1-25. Resettlement service providers associate Refugee and Immigrant Youth (RIY)’s resilience with their assimilation and integration into the Western culture. This definition is insensitive to cultural and social factors that contextualize RIY’s definition of resilience. Drawing from in-depth interviews of Refugees and Immigrant youths in Montreal, and using Resilience as a conceptual framework, the research study investigated the barriers to the integration of RIY and their conceptualization of resilience. The study found social isolation, cultural differences between the host and home communities, racism, hostility, aggression, and language to be barriers to RIY’s integration. The youth conceptualized resilience as a form of adaptability to any situation; as the ability to integrate into a new society while remaining deeply rooted in one’s culture and past experiences; and as overcoming marginalization. The paper contributes to a nuanced critical understanding of refugee and migration studies. Further, it sheds light on a growing triangular interrelationship between the social and economic integration of refugees, the cultural factors of host communities, and resilience.

Derksen, M., & Teixeira, C. (2023). Refugees and religious institutions in a mid‐size Canadian city. Population, Space and Place, e53. This study explores how religious institutions affect refugee settlement in Kelowna, a mid-size city in British Columbia. Kelowna has had a significant increase in refugee sponsorship since the 2015 Syrian crisis, and most private sponsorship has involved churches and the local mosque, in collaboration with government-funded settlement services and community partners. The authors collected data through a questionnaire distributed among former refugees and semi-structured interviews with key informants, including clergy, refugee-sponsorship groups, and service providers. The results reveal that religious institutions help refugees cope with barriers and challenges in Kelowna in three main ways: bridging language barriers between newcomers, service providers, and sponsorship providers; helping newcomers establish new lives in Kelowna and move toward integration; and helping newcomers move away from precarity toward prosperity as they re-establish themselves and their families.

Eithne Luibhéid, Karma R. Chávez (eds.) (2020). Queer and Trans Migrations: Dynamics of Illegalization, Detention and Deportation. University of Illinois Press. Centering queer of colour migrants and communities, and questions of citizenship and border crossing, this book considered ‘how sexual arrangements, ideologies and modes of regulation shape migration to and incorporation into the United States.’ Queer and Trans Migrations extend that exploration by analyzing how illegalization, detention, and deportation thoroughly define migrants’ (and citizens’) lives at local, national, and transnational scales. As a field-defining book, Queer Migrations almost entirely emphasizes the voices of scholars.  Since its publication, ‘queer and trans migration’ has shifted from a then-surprising linking of immigration and sexuality scholarship, or a matter of concern for binational same-sex couples, to a robust body of scholarship, a naming of the most active voices and organizers within the immigration justice movement, and an immense site of cultural and intellectual creativity.


International Migration Outlook 2022, Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), October 10, 2022. Every year, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) publishes the International Migration Outlook (IMO), its flagship publication on migration. Each IMO features chapters on key developments in migration, as well as Country Notes that include infographics of key migration data for each OECD country. Canada is featured prominently throughout the report. The 2022 edition of International Migration Outlook analyses recent developments in migration movements and the labour market inclusion of immigrants in OECD countries. It also monitors recent policy changes in migration governance and integration in OECD countries.


Naomi Lightman and Hamid Akbary, New data provide insight into pandemic inequalities, Policy Options, March 27, 2023. Existing analyses of COVID-19 in Canada and internationally suggest that infection rates were highly variable across populations, with researchers highlighting the disproportionate burden experienced by groups that are intersectionally disadvantaged.

Thomas Feng, Telling us we should be grateful to live in Australia overlooks the hardships and sacrifices of migration, ABC News, March 26, 2023. Migrants can live and work in Australia for decades and still be uncertain whether they will ever be able to make a permanent home. Some 12,000 asylum seekers in Australia have no permanent rights to work or study, while offshore processing still has bipartisan government support. “I won’t be grateful while Australia continues to market itself as a welcoming country when in reality, our policies tell migrants and refugees that we do not belong,” said Feng.

Michael Collyer, The UK spent a third of its international aid budget on refugees in the UK – what it’s paying for, and why it’s a problem, The Conversation, April 3, 2023. The parliamentary committee report highlighted how much more effectively money could be spent overseas. Studies at the Protracted Displacement Economies project at the University of Sussex illustrate this clearly, showing how flourishing economies develop in situations of mass displacement in some of the poorest countries in the world. Collyer argued that the UK’s development aid could be far more effective supporting refugees in these economies rather than on hotel accommodation in the UK.

Himel Rahman, India Should Facilitate the Repatriation of Rohingya Refugees from Bangladesh, South Asian Voices, April 6, 2023. On 22 March 2023, the Myanmar government announced that it would start repatriating 1,140 Rohingya refugees from Bangladesh in mid-April. The pilot repatriation program took off owing to mediation efforts by China, Asia’s rising power that maintains close ties with Bangladesh and Myanmar. Notably, the other regional power in South Asia, India, has largely been inactive in the process of the repatriation of Rohingya refugees so far.


Introducing the SAH Evaluation Toolkit: A Community-Based Approach to Evaluation for Refugee Sponsorship Agreement Holders. Developed by the Centre for Community Based Research (CCBR) in partnership with Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), the SAH Evaluation Toolkit is a comprehensive resource that will help Sponsorship Agreement Holders to plan and implement their own internal community-based evaluation. The Toolkit is a useful resource for SAHs who want to improve their work and demonstrate the impact of their activities. By taking a community-based approach to evaluation, we can ensure that the evaluation plan is tailored to different needs, responds to local community needs and gaps, and promotes equity, engagement, and action among stakeholders.

Measuring Welcoming Communities: A Toolkit for Communities and Those Who Support Them, developed by Victoria M. Esses, Leah K. Hamilton, Awish Aslam, Priscila Ribeiro Prado Barros. The Measuring Welcoming Communities Toolkit has been developed to support the groundwork in understanding a community and planning how to shape it to become more welcoming. In total, there are 19 characteristics involved in the measurement process, creating a complete profile of what a community is and can offer. 

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