Differentiated embedding among the Vietnamese refugees in London and the UK
Fragmentation, complexity, and ‘in/visibility’
THIS ARTICLE IS ON EARLY VIEW. Integration has become an increasingly topical and important issue both in terms of a key policy objective relating to the resettlement of refugees and migrants, and in popular public debate – with renewed interest in the concept following the recent ‘refugee crisis’ sparked by the Syrian civil war, and in the UK, led by Brexit.
While the concept of integration has served an important policy concept for measuring outcomes of refugee and migrant incorporation, it has also been a controversial and a hotly debated issue. Researchers note that within official policy discourse in the UK, and other European countries, it has become increasingly normative and dominated by an assimilationist stance. This has problematic connotations for theorising and understanding different forms of incorporation and belonging.
Critics have identified a tendency to treat integration as a one-way process rather than a two-way one, involving shifts in the host society as well as among refugees and migrant populations; to equate integration with assimilation of the migrant; and for being based on the outdated assumption that host societies are homogenous and cohesive in the first place, rather than complex and diverse.