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Introduction to the Special Issue: Resilience and Wellbeing in Forced Migration

Denise C. Lewis, Alexander Roedlach

Abstract

This set of articles is the result of a panel held at the 78th annual meeting of the Society for Applied Anthropology from April 3-7, 2018, in Philadelphia, United States of America. The title of the panel, during which the four authors presented papers, was “Forced Migration as Liminal Experience: Policy and Agency.” The articles highlight forced migration to the United States, illustrated by Hispanic women without legal immigration status near Chicago, Illinois; resettled Syrian refugees in Austin, Texas; resettled Cambodian refugees living near Mobile, Alabama; Karen refugees resettled near Atlanta, Georgia; and Karenni refugees who were resettled in Omaha, Nebraska. These articles reveal lives of both refugees with legal status and forced migrants without legal documentation. This set of articles also represents national and ethnic groups from Latin America, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia, regions with large numbers of forced migrants. The articles focus on the intersection of three concepts with complex and varying definitions: migration, resilience, and wellbeing. These concepts highlight differing social and cultural contexts but also shared experiences and struggles. We briefly describe our understanding of these concepts and then highlight how these are useful conceptual frameworks to see commonalities and differences among the four different case studies.

Keywords

forced migration; refugees; resilience; wellbeing

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