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Social Identities of Organised Refugee Settlement Inhabitants: Living in a Separate Circle

TitleSocial Identities of Organised Refugee Settlement Inhabitants: Living in a Separate Circle
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsBosankic, N
PublisherLAP LAMBERT Academic Publishing
Place PublishedSaarbrucken
ISBN Number978-3-8484-9240-4

This study adopts both Social Identity Theory and Social Constructivist Approach in examining construction of social identity in inhabitants of a refugee settlement in Srpski Krstur in the autonomous province of Vojvodina, Republic of Serbia.  A total of seventeen (now former) refugees from Bosnia and Herzegovina, aged from 17 to 65, from the refugee settlement participated in the study.  Focus group discussions were conducted and a combination of content analysis and qualitative interpretation applied to; (i) examine dynamic patterns of social identity formation in the specific context of a refugee settlement; (ii) to look in detail at the ways in which people articulate difference and similarity, establish and manage group norms and construct and manage boundaries between in-groups and out-groups.  Particular attention was given to (iii) identifying variations in identity based on participants’ ages at the time of their arrival in the refugee settlement.  Data analysis revealed, irrespective of participants being of the same ethnicity, religion and language as the locals; (a) a three-stage causal sequence:  categorisation-identity-social comparison persistently occurring in all three groups; (b) differences in participants’ sense of social identity based on their age upon reaching the settlement and; (c) exposed the socially constructed and dynamic nature of participants' identification, and its dependence on both broad (regional) and narrow (refugee settlement) social context.  Results also indicate that isolating refugees in a remote refugee settlement, specifically older refugees, hinders adaptation and integration into the new community.