Ethnicity, Social Networks and Poverty - BTR Ref Group 5 July 2013 (Philimore & Gilchrist)

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Ethnicity, Social Networks and Poverty
BTR Ref Group 5 July 2013 (Philimore & Gilchrist)

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Ethnicity, Social Networks and Poverty - BTR Ref Group 5 July 2013 (Philimore & Gilchrist)

  1. 1. Ethnicity, social networks, poverty and inclusion TSRC Below the Radar conference 5th July 2013 Jenny Phillimore & Alison Gilchrist Local-Level.org.uk
  2. 2. Overview of presentation • Some working definitions and concepts • Description of two research projects - scope and methods – Refugees integration - Jenny – Social networks, poverty and ethnicity – Alison • Q and As • Key findings and implications • Discussion
  3. 3. Definitions • Poverty: when your income doesn’t allow you to obtain the things you need • Ethnicity: broadly defined – race, culture, faith, origin/nationality, heritage and homeland • Refugee – the Home Office defined • Integration – Ager & Strang’s integration indicators • Social networks: connections with others, based on trust and participation/exchanges • Social capital: web of associations comprising interpersonal networks, norms and trust • Networking – establishing, maintaining and using these links and relationships
  4. 4. Research Questions • What are refugees’ integration priorities? • What types of social network and social capital do refugees possess? • What is the relationship between different types of network and capital and other indicators of integration? • What types of social network and social capital are most beneficial for refugee integration? 4
  5. 5. Methods and profile • Re-analysis of SNR – 5600 refugees 2005-2008 • E-survey of integration priorities to support index development • Refugees from >100 countries • 49% Muslim, 40% Christian • The majority of refugees were under the age of 35 (70%). • 31% in UK less than 6 months, 22% over 5 years • 21% living with spouse
  6. 6. Integration Priorities Means and Markers Social Networks Facilitators Foundation Employment 8.61 Housing 9.29 Health Emotional 8.85 Physical 8.42 Friends 8.42 Family 8.16 Co-national or ethnic groups 7.49 Religious groups 7.74 Other organisational out-groups 7.61 English Skills Safety and stability Speaking 9.11 Reading/writing Absence of verbal or 8.69 physical attack 9.5 Rights to family reunion 8.75 Citizenship 8.21 Volunteering 7.092 6
  7. 7. Purpose of JRF research project To investigate the links between social networks, ethnicity and poverty • How are networks established and maintained? • How do they help people cope with poverty? • How do people use networks to move out of poverty ? • What other factors come into play? – education, affordable credit, housing, cultures and racial discrimination?
  8. 8. Research methods • Birmingham, Liverpool and Cumbria • Recruitment and training of 8 community researchers • 91 interviews with community members • 30 counties of origin: ‘established communities’ • 28 agency interviews • 4 scoping meetings with communities • 3 social media workshops • Observation sessions and visits • 3 community feedback workshops and 1 policy seminar
  9. 9. How people benefit from networks GETTING BY • Emergency help • Finding work • Getting accommodation • Sharing children’s clothes, toys • Access to affordable food • Short-term informal lending • Skills exchange – brokering and bartering • Emotional support/comfort • Help with interpretation of official documents GETTING ON • Recruiting staff • Business promotion • Supply chains and potential markets • Access to expert advice and trades people (cheap or free) • Savings and loans systems for investment • Role models and mentoring • Training and learning opportunities
  10. 10. Barriers and limitations • • • • • • • Language – vitality of English – and legal status Racism – prejudices and discrimination Xenophobia – feeling rebuffed or uncomfortable Cost of networking (travel, presents, socialising) Lack of time and energy – shifts, childcare, etc. Lack of confidence, self esteem Tendency to stay within own community –> lack of access to well-paid jobs and good opportunities • Peer and family pressures, duties and businesses • Family ties cost money – dowries, remittances, visits
  11. 11. Networking motivation and methods • Strategies for finding the ‘right’ (useful) people • Maintain cultural identity and conventions • Being pro-active in keeping networks open and growing • Maintaining profile and credibility • Getting and checking reliable information • Providing a comfort zone, a ‘safe place’ • Enjoyment and affection
  12. 12. Individual characteristics • Ambition • Hope and positive attitudes • Character/ethos/orientation – joy of giving and helping others – Commitment to family/community • • • • Spirit of independence Confidence and friendliness Stepping ‘outside immediate comfort zones’ Personal resources (time, money, skills)
  13. 13. Any questions ? • About what we did rather than what we found out • Findings and implications come next
  14. 14. Shared Findings 1 • Importance of family and friends • Importance of voluntary, community and faith groups • Agencies are not networking as effectively as they could be to reach/serve minority ethnic communities • The complexity of negotiating systems and the culture of those systems • Links between networks and informal employment processes – Equalities issues • Inclusive and exclusive aspects of networks • Levels of trust and reciprocity shape how networks operate and how accessible they are for different individuals and communities
  15. 15. Shared Findings 2 • Importance of ESOL: language and ‘space to network’ • Lack of social networks associated with poor health • Bonding capital for emotional support and survival • Bridging and linking capital/’weak ties’ for ‘getting ahead’ • Level of education in country of origin: linked to nature and range of networks
  16. 16. Shared Findings 3 • Stereotypes of communities were misleading – many exceptions, but shared values and traditions were important • Impact of ‘network disruption’: divorce, loss of long term employment/workplace; moving home • Cultural characteristics of networks: reflect social identities - ethnic, class or gender differences, personal interests and family histories • Networks are not the only (or most important?) factor in moving out of poverty or enabling integration • Other factors – access to funds and assets, education, language skills, discrimination, fiscal policy, impact of welfare reform
  17. 17. Key Differences 1 • Refugees do not prioritise networks although evidence suggests they are essential • Few gender differences in networks but differences in outcomes • Safety and security and impact of harassment “negative networks” greatest impact on integration • Clear negative impact of dispersal on integration and types of network • Living with children associated with poorer health
  18. 18. Key Differences 2 • Social Media Focus: ethnic difference in social media (QQ/ Nasra Klasa):E-bay and online trading – Made in Cumbria, R&J store – Filipino goods • Age, class and network awareness • Digital disadvantage (rather than a clear ‘digital divide’) • Rural focus: Scattered BME populations: isolation, stress: lack of ‘critical mass’ for organising ethnic specific community activities • Agency focus: macro-policy issues more important than networks in addressing poverty (impact of cuts, welfare reform etc)
  19. 19. Recommendations • • • • • Improve access to quality language training Encourage development of all kinds of networks Support NGOs to work with refugees Protect from anti-integrative attacks Look at mechanisms to place asylum seekers near friends and family • Prioritise support for women and Muslims • Support family reunion
  20. 20. Recommendations • Access to face to face advice • ESOL: addressing language barriers and ensuring space for inter-cultural networking • Promote digital fluency and access to internet • Volunteer opportunities as a way into employment • Mentoring and peer support • Role of community based organisations: commissioning for ‘social value’ • Access to ‘vertical’ connections via agencies’ networks
  21. 21. Discussion • Do these findings and recommendations seem right? • What are the implications for policy and practice? • What more do we need to know? • What is happening already to implement some of these ideas? • How can the issues raised be addressed?
  22. 22. Acknowledgement • • • • Research by: Sin Yi Cheung and Jenny Phillimore Supported by Nuffield Foundation Further information: j.a.phillimore@bham.ac.uk Advisory Group: – Chris Atwood, Home Office – Helen Connolly, CLG – Lisa Doyle, The Refugee Council – Ludi Simpson, University of Manchester
  23. 23. THANK YOU! For further information or Research Team discussion please • Angus McCabe contact Angus McCabe Third Sector Research Centre • a.j.mccabe@bham.ac.uk • 0121 415 8561 • Alison Gilchrist Independent Consultant • Asif Afridi BRAP • Paul Kyprianou Praxis CIC • Kevin Harris Local Level

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