Acculturation and wellbeing of refugees: a study of Somalis in Kampala-Uganda
Balyejjusa, Senkosi Moses
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Although there is substantial research on refugee acculturation in developed and industrialised countries, there is limited research on the same within Africa in general and Uganda in particular. This study fills this gap by investigating, analysing and describing Somali refugees’ acculturation strategies, ways in which Ugandans influence Somali refugees’ acculturation and the relationship between Somali refugees’ acculturation and their wellbeing. In this thesis I argue that Somali refugees’ acculturation is selective and purposive, and contextual. The selective and purposive actions of Somali refugees are determined by the expected benefits from a particular behaviour, availability of alternatives, situational and individual factors. On the other hand, the contextual factors such as the multi-cultural and religious nature of the host community, laws promoting refugee freedoms and rights, Somali refugees’ residential status and perceived dissimilarity between the cultures of the two groups independently influenced Somali refugees’ acculturation and wellbeing. More importantly, these contextual factors also influenced Somali refugees’ selective and purposive actions in some respects. I conclude by showing that the combination of selective and purposive actions and contextual factors demonstrates Somali refugees’ exercise of socio-culturally mediated agency during their acculturation process and in pursuance of their wellbeing.