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Navigating precarious terrains: Reconceptualizing refugee youth settlement

Nunn, C and Gifford, SM and McMichael, C and Correa-Velez, I (2017) Navigating precarious terrains: Reconceptualizing refugee youth settlement. Refuge: Canada’s Journal on Refugees, 33 (2). pp. 45-55. ISSN 0229-5113

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Abstract

Settlement is widely understood as the final stage of the refugee journey: a durable solution to forced displacement and a stable environment in which former refugees can rebuild their lives. However, settlement is shaped by rapidly changing socio-political forces producing contingent, unpredictable, and even hostile environments. This article draws upon Vigh’s concept of social navigation to reconceptualize settlement as a continuation of a fraught journey in which refugee settlers must continually seek new strategies to pursue viable futures. We illustrate with an in-depth case study of the settlement journey of one refugee-background young man over his first eight years in Melbourne, Australia.

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