Organization: Thorncliffe Neighbourhood Office
Location: Toronto, Canada
Social Networks and “Agency”: Exploring Afghan Male Refugees’ Settlement Experience in Toronto
Most of the literature on the settlement experience of refugees in Canada has narrowly focused on employment and labour market participation within either a human capital or social capital framework. Having interviewed six young Afghan refugees about their settlement experience in Toronto, I argue in this paper that both human capital and social networks of refugees are important in their successful settlement. I argue that while human capital alone cannot adequately explain the settlement experience of refugees, it is an important enabler of refugees’ agency. In addition, using the structuration theory, I further argue that structures as rules, such as lack of recognition of foreign credentials, can constrain refugees’ agency to successfully settle in their new home whereas structures as resources, such as social networks of friends, may be enabling.