Date of Award

Spring 5-2019

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)

Department

Anthropology

First Advisor

Dr. Emanuela Guano

Abstract

This study investigates how caseworkers laboring to resettle Congolese refugees in Clarkston, GA understand the challenges faced by their clients when integrating into American society. Resettlement agencies conceptualize Congolese refugees as often having more extensive needs. In Atlanta, this means that the majority of Congolese refugees are assigned to a particular agency to provide specialized services tailored to the Congolese community. However, caseworkers understand these challenges differently, causing the particular methods in which services are administered to differentiate. Through participant observation and semi-structured interviews with caseworkers, this study examines a range of resettlement methods, identifying common understandings of Congolese refugees by caseworkers, such as challenges regarding the ubiquitous language barrier, differing cultural conceptualizations of time, and an inexperience with navigating various systems and institutions in the U.S. Moreover, this paper argues that the caseworkers’ perspectives are neoliberally influenced which, by extension, affects the approaches employed throughout the resettlement process.

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