Programme, policies, people: the interaction between Bosnian refugees and British society

Doctoral thesis English OPEN
Kelly, Lynnette
  • Subject: HN

This thesis analyses the situation of refugees from Bosnia-Herzegovina that arrived in Britain as part of an organised programme. It represents a contribution towards the theoretical understanding of refugees, and develops and refines the theories of other authors. The author used field research methods based on techniques developed in ethnographic studies to generate empirical evidence on the social organisation of Bosnian refugees in Britain. Throughout the thesis it is argued that the situation of the refugees can only be understood through an examination of the influences affecting the refugees, before, during, and after their arrival in Britain.\ud At every stage of the refugees' experience, control over the course of their lives has been taken away from the refugees. The war that took place in Bosnia-Herzegovina became constructed as an ethnic conflict, although there was no strong Muslim identification before the war. The programme removed options over country and place of residence, and created a measure of dependency. Longer term policies of community development, originally designed to meet the perceived needs of labour migrants, have been directed towards the refugees and imposed a model of organisation. Combined with temporary protected status, this has removed control from the refugees and prevented the formation of a new collective or individual positive life project.\ud Refugees from Bosnia-Herzegovina represent a new type of refugee in Joly's typology. This is a type of refugee that had no collective project in the country of origin, and also no collective project in the country of exile, and that is unable to make a decision on return because of the constraints around them.
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