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Refugees in higher education: boundaries of belonging and recognition, stigma and exclusion

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For highly educated refugee professionals who flee to the UK, gaining a university qualification is one of the key strategies which can be used to re-establish a professional identity and find employment, and yet little is known about their experiences in higher education. This article utilises Bourdieu’s framework of field, capital and habitus to conceptualise what happens to this group of migrants as they move across social space, and as they enter and move through university. By juxtaposing four case studies it draws out the diversity and commonalities in experience, and how pre- and post-migratory experiences shape the encounter with higher education. The article serves as a reminder against over-generalising or universalising the needs of refugee students. It underlines the affective dimension of being a refugee and the material realities of global inequality and forced migration which shape and mark refugee habitus.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Sussex, UK

Publication date: October 1, 2013

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