According to Ager and Strang (2008), integration has become an essential policy objective in relation to resettlement of refugees among other migrants. As the authors posit, there are various domains or modes of integration. These include: (1) markers and means, which is inclusive of employment, housing, education, and health; (2) social connection, which encompasses social links, bonds and bridges; (3) facilitators, which is comprised of safety and stability, as well as language and cultural knowledge; (4) and lastly, foundation, which is based on rights and citizenship. These are outlined in the figure below.
The integration of refugees is multifaceted and dynamic two-way process that requires efforts by the parties concerned, including the preparedness by the refugees, as well as the host society without having to forego the cultural identity. The host communities and the accompanying public institutions should also be willing to welcome the refugees and meet their needs. Therefore, the process of integration is often gradual and complex, and it comprises distinct but interrelated legal, social, economic, and cultural dimensions, all of which are vital for the ability of the refugees to integrate successfully as fully included members of the host society. According to a study conducted by the United Nations Commissioner for Refugees (UNCHR), various obstacles to integration were identified. These include difficulties due to lack of education and knowledge of the host community culture and the local languages, which is further compounded by unreceptive attitudes and discrimination of the host community members towards foreigners. Also, there is lack of understanding within the host societies of the specific situation of the refugees and limited access to rights for persons with subsidiary protection. Lastly, another challenge is the psychological impact of protracted inactivity during the procedures of seeking asylum.
Furthermore, discrimination and xenophobic attitudes affect migrants, including refugees, as well as the need to bridge cultural and language barriers, including those related to variant gender roles. For instance, preference given nationals by the various employers, as well as housing problems are some of the obstacles that refugees and other migrants face. For this reason, integration modes and policies need to be streamlined and mainstreamed, particularly in third country nationals. In essence, at the EU level, vital steps have been taken towards developing approaches, policies, and tools that facilitate easier integration across the various member states, which can also be helpful in the integration of persons that need international protection. Besides, policies should be put into place to combat instances of xenophobia and racism, as well as strengthening gender equality, measures of allowing the migrants to participate in community activities, and in particular adolescents and women, as well as confidence-building activities. Importantly, there is need to recognize that each refugee requires a different kind of support for effective integration support. Therefore, close cooperation among the actors that work in the refugee protection field, as well as those involved in integration and implementation policies at national, local, and regional level is vital.
In most instances, by the time the refugees are recognized in the host nations, they may have lived for prolonged periods of time, or even years, waiting for the outcome of their asylum claims. In this period, they may gather impressions and experiences of the host community, which may play a huge role in the integration process. It should be noted that being granted asylum does not signify the end of insecurity, and factors including homelessness, life in a detention center, separation and isolation from the family, right to work restrictions, dependency on benefits, and the stigma associated with being an asylum-seeker can have lasting effects, which may prompt them to conduct their lives being marginalized. As such, reception policies need to be designed in a manner that minimizes separation and isolation from the host communities.
Language is vital for integration as it facilitates active participation of children in school, as well as aiding in accessing employment within the host nation. Language training among adults helps them adjust to the new environment. As such, language training should be initiated after the process of asylum seeking commences. Also, vocational training provides an empowering effect and enables the refugees to meet the host population on equal terms instead of the recipient of services, as well as facilitates access to employment in case the asylum is granted. Also, accommodation in the host nation is paramount for refugees as collective reception centers may be isolating to the refugees, which may be detrimental to their settling.
Intersectionality theory considers that various human aspects, such as sexual orientation, race, gender, and class do not exist in isolation, but have influential, complex and interwoven relationships, which are vital in comprehending human conditions (Crenshaw, 1991; Crenshaw, 1989). Since the theory adopts a subjective approach, people think of each element or trait as linked with other items to fully understand the identity of a particular being. Intersectionality, being a sociological theory, it describes multiple threats of discrimination when a persons characters overlap with some minority classes, including health, ethnicity, age, race and gender among other subjective identities (Crenshaw, 1991; Crenshaw, 1989). For instance, a black woman may face sexism in the workplace, which is further made worse by racism. They may also face high levels of discrimination, as well as threats to violence.
Therefore, through the lens of intersectionality, it becomes easier to see why the women of color potentially face misogyny, racism, and sexism (Crenshaw, 1991; Crenshaw, 1989). While intersectionality is traditionally applicable to women, individuals of any gender may be affected by the phenomena of the overlapping status of being a minority in the society. For instance, a man can be of Hispanic origin may face xenophobia in Europe or America despite being a naturalized citizen in the region. If that man is aged 50, ageism may add to the discrimination, and thereby, it may be difficult for him to secure employment. Therefore, based on intersectionality, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, ableism, transphobia, persecution, bigotry, and racism do not act independently, rather, these oppression forms interrelate, which creates a system of oppression, discrimination, and domination (Crenshaw, 1991; Crenshaw, 1989).
Being a feminist theory, intersectionality has enabled women to be organized against routine violence. Drawing from the strength of shared experience, women recognize the political demands that millions speak more powerfully that the pleas of the isolated few. Therefore, the solidarity of the discriminated is usually achieved as a whole, getting the totality, and not letting each identity disregarded (Crenshaw, 1991; Crenshaw, 1989). Therefore, this may be transferred to other aspects, for example, other forms of social inequalities and injustices, and may also be of help not only for women but also the other genders (Crenshaw, 1991; Crenshaw, 1989). Policies and laws only address one form of marginalized identity, but the multiple overlapping identities are usually overlooked. Since these other identities are ignored, there is often due to lack of resources that are required in combatting discrimination, which warrants the perpetuation of cyclical oppression. For this reason, based on intersectionality, dealing with one oppressive identity is not effective, rather, dealing with all intersected intersectionalities and subjectivities is paramount to eliminate discrimination among the minority (Crenshaw, 1991; Crenshaw, 1989).
Under the intersectionality hypothesis, identities are usually not addressed in regular social discourses, and often, they come with their specific set of oppression, discrimination, and domination (Crenshaw, 1991; Crenshaw, 1989). Therefore, intersectionality highlights that all aspects of a persons identity of subjectivity need to be examined as concurrently interacting with each other, which affects ones perception and privilege in the society, and thus, these identity facets cannot be observed separately (Crenshaw, 1991; Crenshaw, 1989). For this reason, intersectionality is not merely viewing the personal identity, instead of an overarching analysis of power hierarchies that are present in the identifications. The framework of intersectionalities, therefore, provides insight into how multiple systems of oppression intersect, interact, and interrelate. Intersectionality is not static, but a dynamic field that is continually evolving in response to the formation of complex social inequalities.
The theory also suggests discrete forms of oppression expressions shaped by each other. For this reason, to fully comprehend racialization and oppression of oppressed groups, one must investigate the manner in which the racializing structures, social processes, and representations are shaped by subjectivism, for example, by sexuality, class, and gender among other identities. For instance, according to Crenshaw (1991). Battering and rape, which were seen as private family matters and significant portrayal of sexual aggression are now recognized as a part of the broader system of domination that usually affects women as a class.
Therefore, intersectionality can be represented using Venn diagrams., which are illustrations that use overlapping or non-overlapping circles in depicting relationships. Thus, the basic structure of a Venn diagram is overlapping circles with items in the overlapping section bearing an aspect of commonality. Other items outside the circles do not share specified common traits. For example, social inequalities can be explained using a Venn diagram. Lack of employment can be caused by racial, religious, sexual orientation, economic and political threats (represented in circle A). On the other hand, lack of education can be attributed to economic, social, political, and cultural factors (described in circle B). As such, from an intersectionality lens, lack of education and lack of employment are caused by a similar factor, i.e., political and economic factors. In the Venn diagram, these elements are common, and thus, they are represented as follows:
Religious Sexual orientation
Religious Sexual orientation
Circle A: Lack of employment Circle B: Lack of education\
Figure 2: An example of Venn diagram.
Circle A represents the social inequality lack of employment while circle B is representative of lack of education. Factors that are attributed to these inequalities are shown in the circles, but those in the middle are the common factors (the intersection). Therefore, intersectionality helps explain social inequalities that are interrelated.
According to Kathy Davis, intersectionality addresses major normative and theoretical concerns within feminist scholarships, which entails acknowledging the differences among women, and this is mainly attributed to the fac...
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