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The survival strategies of immigrant, asylee and refugee women in times of economic crisis: a social enterprise environment in the United States

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This research examines the experiences and perceptions of immigrant and refugee women social entrepreneurs located within a context of economic instability, as well as the strategies that they develop to

This research examines the experiences and perceptions of immigrant and refugee women social entrepreneurs located within a context of economic instability, as well as the strategies that they develop to cope with such crises and volatility. To conduct this research I used a mixed-method, qualitative approach to data collection, including semi-structured, open-ended interviews and a focus group. I used feminist theory and a grounded theory approach to inform the design of my study; as such I acknowledge the participants as knowledge producers and allow for them to add in questions to the interviews and focus group and to comment on drafts of the written portion of the dissertation. The findings have indicated that these women are surviving the economic crisis by combining different income streams, including social entrepreneurship, traditional jobs and state and non-profit-aid. Moreover, the participants have found that besides monetary value, social entrepreneurship also provides alternative benefits such as personal sovereignty in their work environment, work-life balance and well-being. Also, personal history, and family and community embeddedness contribute to women's decisions to pursue social entrepreneurship. This research contributes to the growing body of research on gender and work and fills the gaps in literature currently existing in social entrepreneurship.

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  • 2015

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Gender, age and armed violence: complexity of identity among returning formerly displaced youth in Uganda

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Armed violence is a contemporary global challenge especially in the developing world. It impacts immigration policies locally and internationally. Uganda experienced a twenty-four year -long civil armed conflict, which the

Armed violence is a contemporary global challenge especially in the developing world. It impacts immigration policies locally and internationally. Uganda experienced a twenty-four year -long civil armed conflict, which the president of Uganda declared ended in 2008. Following government instruction, displaced persons have been returning home since then. Despite this official closure, in the course of resettlement, youth specific needs and concerns have been ignored. Female youth have been the most affected due to the interlocking nature of their undervalued gender, age, and marital and reproductive statuses. Despite the complexity of female youth’s social location, research and frameworks about armed violence have focused on men as the perpetuators, marginalizing the impact armed conflict has on young women. Using the case of northern Uganda, this dissertation draws on feminist and indigenous epistemologies to examine the experiences of formerly displaced female youth. First, I deconstruct the western dominant construction of the stages of human growth and development including childhood, youth and adulthood. In this research, I prioritize local perspectives on human development; emphasizing the ambiguity of the concept youth, highlighting its age and gendered limited applicability to northern Uganda. I also examine the local understanding of armed conflict centering its forms and causes. Further, I explore the challenges female youth face, and the strategies they adopt to cope in situations of distress. I argue that studying formerly displaced female youth from their standpoint is critical since female youth have been marginalized in previous research and programs with gender-neutral perspectives. They thus provide a new perspective to armed violence given their multi dimensional standpoint. Female youth have different needs and concerns, which may not feature in mainstream programming largely informed by traditional male dominated systems and structures. Young women’s experiences thus deserve to be acknowledged if female youth are to benefit from the post-conflict reconstruction phase. To fulfill this objective, I used qualitative methods of data collection and analysis.

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  • 2016