University of Tasmania
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The Lhotshampa in Tasmania : an exploration of the challenges of resettlement and acculturation

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posted on 2023-05-26, 06:01 authored by Natascha ToborNatascha Tobor
This thesis aims to add to existing knowledge in the area of refugee resettlement by exploring integrative and acculturative processes among the Lhotshampa refugee community in Tasmania. This thesis examines the challenges that Lhotshampa refugees face when resettling in Tasmania, by focussing on two areas of inquiry. The first area revolves around the practical, integrative issues that the Lhotshampa experience in rebuilding their lives, such as finding employment or housing and learning English. The second part explores the acculturative changes that occur in the Lhotshampa community, due to living in a culturally diverse environment; this includes an analysis of the areas where cultural changes happen, and how they are negotiated. It also investigates how the Lhotshampa's history of dispersal impacts on their feelings of identity. The purpose of the study is to improve our understanding of the integrative and acculturative processes involved, raise awareness of the difficulties that refugees face when resettling in Tasmania, and provide suggestions for the improvement of current resettlement policies. It can thus aid policymakers in the development of resettlement policies and procedures, thus improving the resettlement process for future generations of refugees. The results will also deepen our understanding of acculturative processes of culturally diverse groups in Australia. Ethnography was chosen as methodology for this study. The main methods to gather data were participant observation among the Lhotshampa community, semi-structured interviews with both Lhotshampa and Australian professionals working with refugees, a focus group with Lhotshampa women, and extensive literature and internet research. Fieldwork was conducted in the Lhotshampa refugee communities in Hobart and Launceston, Tasmania, during 2015-2016. Regarding the practical challenges that occur during resettlement, several areas were identified that need addressing, mainly in the areas of English education, employment, aged care and interpreting services. It was found, however, that these areas affect mostly the Lhotshampa and might not be applicable to other refugee groups, partly because of Tasmania's current facilities, but also due to the Lhotshampa's history and sociocultural characteristics. This implies that policymakers and service providers need to be flexible when developing resettlement policies, and to adjust their services with each new refugee group. A collaborative approach that takes the resettlement aims, needs and opinions of refugees into consideration is suggested. Regarding the acculturative processes that occur in the Lhotshampa community the results show that the Lhotshampa differ greatly in the way they negotiate cultural change or construct their identities, not only individually, but also when compared to other refugee groups. This means that, similar to the above, acculturative policies need to be developed in consultation with refugee groups in order to achieve the best possible outcome.


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