• Asylum-seekers and refugees: A structuration theory analysis of their experiences in the UK

      Healey, Ruth L.; University of Sheffield (Wiley, 2006-07-06)
      Much of the literature on asylum seekers and refugees tends to be atheoretical. This article uses ideas from Giddens’ structuration theory as a conceptual framework to analyse the voices of a group of asylum seekers and refugees. The empirical database consists of semi-structured interviews with 18 asylum seekers and refugees living in the UK from a wide range of countries, including Ethiopia, Kenya, Poland, Somalia, and the Yemen. The study shows that the experiences of asylum seekers and refugees are impacted by both structural and individual agency factors. The former, it is argued, consist of public and political reaction towards the increase in the number of asylum applications, while the latter include asylum seeker and refugee experiences of specific places and people which can create social networks. Structural factors had the greatest impact upon the integration of the participants into the host society. The nature of the experiences of asylum seekers and refugees can influence the way they feel about their position in the host society. For example, negative experiences of the UK can reduce their sense of security in the society whereas positive experiences can increase their feelings of comfort. Structuration theory conceptualises how asylum seekers and refugees utilise coping strategies to raise their comfort level in the host country.