Understanding Integration: A Conceptual Framework
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Ager, A. & Strang, A. (2008) Understanding Integration: A Conceptual Framework, Journal of Refugee Studies, vol. 21, , pp. 166-191,
Integration has become both a key policy objective related to the resettlement of refugees and other migrants, and a matter of significant public discussion. Coherent policy development and productive public debate are, however, both threatened by the fact that the concept of integration is used with widely differing meanings. Based on review of attempted definitions of the term, related literature and primary fieldwork in settings of refugee settlement in the UK, the paper identifies elements central to perceptions of what constitutes 'successful' integration. Key domains of integration are proposed related to four overall themes: achievement and access across the sectors of employment, housing, education and health; assumptions and practice regarding citizenship and rights; processes of social connection within and between groups within the community; and structural barriers to such connection related to language, culture and the local environment. A framework linking these domains is presented as a tool to foster debate and definition regarding normative conceptions of integration in resettlement settings. The Author . Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.