International Migration, Integration and Social Cohesion Conference (IMISCEO) 2020

A conference which was originally planned to be held in Luxemborg. But Covid-19 has forced me to stay home and experiment a virtual conference this time.

 

It was useful attending virtual International Migration, Integration and Social Cohesion Conference #imiscoe PhD Network and talk about “Life after PhD” was really useful. It was my first time that I participated in a 'Migration' conference particularly, because I have attended some Library and Information Science #LIS conference in the past few years. I felt it was needed for me to present my work outside my immediate LIS circle, to get feedback. And I could see that the concepts and theories that I am using in my study cannot be taken for granted and need understandable explanation. It was also nice to see how non-LIS scholars actually persume the concept of 'information landscape' and 'cultural landscape'. 

I am thankful to #Siirtolaisuusinstituutti - Migration Institute of Finland- for offering me the grant to attend this conference. And, equally thankful to my supervisors for motivating me and my work to be presented in a Migration conference. 

I realized that it would be much better to attend a physical conference rather a virtual one, as it offers practical ways to interact with other researchers and make connections. I also faced some technical problems with using #webex, an online platform to log in and attend the conference. These problems hindered me to attend the coffee session, lunch meeting and post-conference session properly. 

Conference Link: https://www.imiscoe.org/events/imiscoe-events/1027-17th-imiscoe-annual-conference

The Abstract

Author: Khadijah Saeed Khan

Title

The cultural landscapes of refugee women in Sweden- a socio-cultural integration perspective

 

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to explore the role and types of cultural landscapes of refugee women in Sweden and how these landscpaes help or hinder the settlement process. The cultural landscapes are referred as a set of multiple cultural activities or practices which refugees perform in a specific context and circumstances (i.e. being in a new country) to seek, share or use relevant information for their settlement. Information plays a vital role in various aspects of newcomers’ lives in a new country. This article has an intention to highlight the importance of multiple cultural landscapes as a source of information (regarding employment, langauge learnning, finding accommodation, immigration matters, health concerns, school and education, family matters, and other everyday matters) for refugees to settledown in Sweden.

Some relevant theories such as, information landscapes (Lloyd, 2012) and socio-cultural theories (Mediated Action by Wertsch (1998) and Berry’s Acculturation theory (1997) are considered in this study.

A qualitative research design is employed including semi-structured deep interviews and participatory observation with 12 participants.The initial findings show that the refugee women encounter many information-related and integration-related challenges in Sweden and have build a network of cultural landscapes in which they practice various co-ethnic cultural and religious activities at different times of the year. These landscpaes help them to build a sense of belonging with people from their own or similar land and assist them to seek and share relevant information in everyday life in Sweden.

 

The research also identifies the possible risks and consequences of establishing such small-worlds in a new country.

Keywords: cultural landscape, information landscape, culture, women refugees