Exploring the Information practices and integration challenges of minorities in Sweden and Finland
My Master's Thesis
My Master's dissertation highlights the importance of 'information' in the lives of new female refugees in Turku. Their information needs and information sources in different settlement stages is presented in the thesis. The types of social networks such as, multicultural networks and ethnic networks, are main sources of information for female refugees. Cultural similarities - in terms of - people, lifestyle and festivals - are the main motivating factor behing building the close ethnic networks which is painted as a small world of information in this study. Small world represents the situation of newcomers seeking the information mainly from the people inside the group of ethnic people while ignoring other maintream sources. They may face the challenge of information poverty and separation from the host society in long run. The thesis overview the role of information in a successful integration in new refugees' lives by using the theories of small-world of information (Chatman, 1991) and acculturation theory (Berry, 1997).
Berry, J.W., 1997. Immigration, acculturation, and adaptation. Applied psychology, 46(1), pp.5-34.
Chatman, E.A., 1991. Life in a small world: Applicability of gratification theory to information-seeking behavior. Journal of the American Society for information science, 42(6), p.438.
My PhD Research
My dissertation advances the knowledge of information practices of minority groups in Library and Information Studies field, which is less studied area. My research topic is about "understanding the information practices of women refugees in Sweden - an integration perspective". My research is conducted at the Information Studies department at Åbo Akademi University, Finland and part of the Minorities Reserach Profile. The research profile focuses on minority cultures and identities; discrimination, equal rights and democracy; processes that have given birth to minorities historically and to minority positions historically; and culturally and linguistically sensitive teacher education.
I am working with my supervisors, Professor Gunilla Widén and teacher Eeva-Liisa Eskola. My dissertation research is a qualitative study in which I am conducting semi-structured interviews and focus group discussions with young women refugees living in Sweden.
My research interests include information practices, information landsacpe, cultural landscape, socio-cultural aspects, forced migration, women refugees, and integration. Recently, I have developed interest in exploring the impact of covid-19 on information behavior of minority groups in Finland and Sweden.
My study intends to find the following research questions:
1. What are the information practices of Arab women refugees in Sweden? How they seek, access and share information in everyday life for better integration into the host country?
2. What are the integration challenges they face during the early few years of settlement in Sweden?
3. What is the role of co-cultural communities in facilitating information and integration for Arab women refugees in Sweden?
Why Women Refugees?
My dissertation focuses on studying information challenges and integration challenges of Muslim Arab women refugees living in Sweden. Information palys an important role in integrating into a new country and women information needs are uniqe and need to be studied in detail for better understanding. Sweden has received 160,000 asylum applications in 2015 of which 40% of women. Most of the women are young or middle age 23 - 35. They face specific integration challenges of socio-cultural barriers which impact on their everyday information practices. It is important to study women's everyday life and cultural values that they bring with them when migrate to Sweden and how these cultural values infleunce their information seeking, accessing, using and sharing. In my study, I am trying to explore these aspects.