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Social capital and the labour market inclusion of young adult humanitarian immigrants

Many young adults with refugee backgrounds are not fully included within the labour market. This is often linked to (their lack of ) social networks and the resources they contain. Increasing the size of a person’s network is commonly assumed to be the solution, but this does not account for differences in access to and mobilisation of social capital.

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It is commonly assumed young adults with refugee backgrounds do not have the ‘right’ connections to fully enable their employment inclusion. However, simply increasing the number of people or varying the nationality of those a person is connected to, is not always enough. Rather, appreciating how young adults understand and engage with social capital is essential to support their labour market inclusion.

Therefore, this project asks the following questions:

  • How do young adult humanitarian immigrants’ access and mobilise the resources embedded within their social capital for labour market inclusion?

  • What social capital do young adult humanitarian immigrants have access to?

  • How do young adult humanitarian immigrants mobilise the social capital they have access to?

  • What factors affect young adult humanitarian immigrants’ access to and mobilisation of social capital?

These questions are explored through a creative qualitative approach that places the young immigrants whose experiences are being explored, at the centre of the research process. The research is approached through a decolonial lens using a participatory arts-based method. The researcher and participants will co-create this understanding through a series of workshops and focus groups, individual creative projects, and in-depth dialogues.

Project leader: Natalie Anita Bye, PhD Candidate 

Project team: Natalie Bye, in collaboration with Prof. Laurence Romani

Status: Ongoing through 2025

This project is partly funded by Formas, the Swedish Research Council for Sustainable Development.