Do we really offer refuge? Using Galtung's concept of structural violence to interrogate refugee resettlement support in Aotearoa New Zealand
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AbstractDecades after the first refugee convention was signed, the global community is still failing to meet its commitment to protect refugees from harm. In this article, we draw on Galtung’s concept of structural violence to highlight how harm can be caused not only by physical violence but also by social structures in resettlement contexts, including economic systems, legal frameworks and government institutions. We examine how recognising the exposure of resettled refugees to structural violence in their host countries can help us interrogate the quality of the ‘refuge’ offered and point to significant gaps in national resettlement systems. We consider Aotearoa New Zealand as a case where there is an extensive refugee resettlement support system, but argue that it fails to adequately acknowledge and address the exposure of refugees to forms of structural violence caused by factors such as institutionalised monoculturalism and economic inequality. We conclude by calling for an expanded understanding of ‘refuge’ that would reorient resettlement systems towards identifying and addressing structural violence while supporting refugees to overcome the harmful impacts of both physical and structural violence in their lives.
CitationRafferty, R., Burgin, A. and Anderson, V., (2020). 'Do we really offer refuge? Using Galtung's concept of structural violence to interrogate refugee resettlement support in Aotearoa New Zealand'. Sites: A Journal of Social Anthropology & Cultural Studies, 17(1), pp. 1-25.
JournalSites: A Journal of Social Anthropology and Cultural Studies