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  • Author or Editor: Nando Sigona x
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Multi-scalar Perspectives

Immigration has transformed the social, economic, political and cultural landscapes of global cities such as London, Melbourne, Milan and Amsterdam. The term ‘superdiversity’ captures a new era of migration-driven demographic diversifications and associated complexities. Superdiversity is the future or, in many cases, the current reality of neighbourhoods, cities, countries and regions, yet the implications of superdiversification for governance and policy have, until now, received very little attention.

First published as a special issue of Policy & Politics, this insightful volume brings together contributions from experts across Europe to explore the ways in which superdiversity has shaped the development of policy and to consider challenges for the future.

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Networks, resources and social capital

The book is distinctive in combining theoretical discussion on the role of networks, resources and social capital with fieldwork evidence and interviews with members of RCOs, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and statutory authorities. It critically examines the impact of dispersal and current legislative change on refugee communities and RCOs; explores the integrative role of RCOs; assesses the race relations framework in Britain and its effects on refugee organisations and provides a thorough and up-to-date literature review.

Refugee community organisations and dispersal is essential reading for practitioners and policy makers, academics, researchers and students of social policy, social geography, sociology and politics. Members of NGOs working with refugees or in local government, community workers and members of refugee communities themselves will also be keenly interested in the book. Comparative issues raised by the research will be of direct interest to readers in other countries.

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This introductory chapter provides an overview of superdiversity. Patterns of migration to high-income countries until the 1990s mainly consisted of many migrants coming from a few countries to a small number of places. Around the turn of the 1990s, however, a new pattern of migration and associated diversification was observed. Since its inception, the concept of ‘superdiversity’ was meant to move beyond an observation of ethnic and national diversity, to capture the multidimensional aspect of the processes of diversification driven by new migration, including variables such as gender and age, faith, patterns of distribution, language, labour market experiences, and different immigration statuses. The chapter then considers the politics and governance of superdiversity.

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This chapter uses the fieldwork that was conducted with RCOs in the West Midlands and the North West in its discussion. It examines Birmingham, Manchester, and Liverpool. The chapter first presents an analysis of the number and structure of RCOs in the regions, and then discusses the principal themes that are covered in the interviews. A comparison of these regions is then provided.

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This chapter presents an outline of the methodological underpinnings of the fieldwork, and is focused on the position of RCOs in London. It examines the effects of dispersal on RCOs in the regions and raises a range of more-general theoretical issues. The chapter also reveals that the London settlement experience predates and provides a background to the dispersal process.

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This chapter is composed of a brief overview of the dispersal framework for asylum seekers, which was introduced under the 1999 Immigration and Asylum Act. The central model in the discussion is the partnership model, which informs the reception and settlement of asylum seekers and refugees. The chapter shows that the current national refugee-integration strategy is unique in being based upon the new dispersal arrangements for the reception of asylum seekers in the regions.

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This chapter reviews the theoretical questions that inform the analysis of refugee community organisations. The areas it covers include the literature on migrant organisations, the relevant research on social networks and social capital, and the integrative role of RCOs. A critique of the literature and a proposal of alternative perspectives and questions that relate to the role of RCOs are also included.

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This chapter provides an outline of the institutional and policy framework in the regions. It starts by contrasting the socioeconomic characteristics of the West Midlands and the North West. The chapter then examines the structure of the consortia and the current integration arrangements for refugees in the regions. The strategy, policy, and practice of the local authorities in coping with new arrivals and the more recently settled communities are then reviewed.

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This chapter addresses the themes that are raised in the fieldwork chapters and views them from a more theoretical perspective. It focuses mostly on the institutional constraints and opportunities for mobilisation that affect refugee communities. The chapter discusses the role of networks, resources, and social capital in the creation of refugee organisations. It also looks at the broader issue of refugee settlement and social cohesion in the UK.

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