Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE credits
The thesis examines the economic integration process of refugees in rural Sweden, and
its relation to geographical mobility. The mechanisms behind the integration process are
explored through the concepts of networks, social bridge, and scalar.
It is concluded that having a function that plays the role of a social bridge within
networks positively affect the economic integration process for refugees. Factors that
provide fundamental conditions for the function of a social bridge is identified to be
cultural understanding and trustworthiness.
The thesis highlights the spatial aspects of the case study area by considering networks
between different scalar of global, national, and local. Through analyzing the
positioning of the locality, relations are found with characteristics of refugees coming to
the place. Those refugees mismatch with the local labor demand, yet they have positive
impacts on the location in terms of a demographic aspect and internationalization
opportunities. Under this condition, a social bridge is understood to be vital for
overcoming the gap between the labor demands and a welcoming attitude toward
As social bridge fosters interactions between refugees and society, it also has a
positive effect on refugees’ mobility and attitude toward a place. Interaction
opportunities provide a base for a new identity formation for refugees, which is
essential to generate a sense of home. Feeling the place to be one’s home contributes to
A critical realistic approach has been chosen as the way of studying integration process.
By means of statistical data, employment patterns are explored in this area. A semistructured
interview study was used to analyze the networks in depth.
2013. , 55 p.
refugee, integration, economic integration, social network, social bridge, scalar, rural, Sweden