Integration – A Lifetime Project

by Hjördis Sigurjonsdottir

Institution: Stockholm University
Year: 2016
Keywords: Migration; refugees; integration process; life course; transnational living; social networks; Iceland; Social Sciences; Social and Economic Geography; Human Geography; Samhällsvetenskap; Social och ekonomisk geografi; Kulturgeografi
Posted: 02/05/2017
Record ID: 2063732
Full text PDF: http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:su:diva-131808


Due to an increased flow of refugees over the past few years, affairs of refugees have caught increased attention. The aim of this thesis is to analyze the integration process of an earlier group of quota refugees who came to rural Iceland in 1998, from former Yugoslavia. Eighteen years have passed and the refugees’ views of entering and living in Icelandic society will help to understand the process of integration and the role of migration in an ever-changing social context and in times of rapid globalization. The study aims to explore two questions: 1) How did the life events of the refugees affect their integration processes? 2) How did transnational practices impact the integration processes? In-depth interviews were carried out and a life course perspective was the method used for obtaining the refugees’ stories and life experiences, and to investigate their integration processes. The analysis draws on the theories of integration, life course perspective, transnationalism and social networks. This study indicates that transnational practices are beneficial for the lifetime project of integration. Access to an extended social network of relatives and co-ethnics also plays a crucial role. Another important element for integration is the feeling of normal life, supported by a feeling of security in the physical, economic and institutional sense.