Personal Networks of Refugees: The Role of Social Capital in Integration

Justine Lewis


Social capital theory proposes that networks help individuals access resources. This theoretical dimension, further categorized by bonding, bridging, and linking relationships has relevancy within refugee resettlement and integration research. Because of the complexity of measuring social capital, both quantitative and qualitative data strands are needed in order to best explore the role of social networks in refugees’ integration in the U.S. In the current study, quantitative personal networks of refugees in the U.S. are analyzed and connected with qualitative interviews. Findings demonstrate which types of social capital (as evidenced by relationships) best support which integration indicators. In applying Ager and Strang’s (2008) seminal integration framework, this study contributes to the understanding of how social capital connections can support refugees’ integration, with implications for policy and practice.

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