The politicisation of social anchoring: language support and community building within Vietnamese refugee-led organisations in London

Annabelle Wilkins

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Abstract

This article explores relationships between language support practices and community development in the context of Vietnamese Refugee Community Organisations (RCOs) in London, which were formed in the 1980s to meet the needs of Vietnamese refugee communities. Drawing on interviews with practitioners working within London-based Vietnamese RCOs, the article examines the multi-faceted role of language support in contributing to refugee adaptation. It draws upon the conceptual framework of social anchoring to analyse how Vietnamese RCOs support refugees’ initial adjustment and longer-term adaptation through multiple language support provisions, including interpreting and translation, English as a Second Language (ESOL) and Vietnamese language classes. A key contribution of the article is its analysis of the ways in which language-related anchoring processes have been politicised through shifting state-led approaches to integration, reductions in funding for RCOs and a growing emphasis on English language over support for minority language practices. The findings also demonstrate how social anchoring processes within RCOs have been reconfigured in response to the diverse needs of refugee communities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-19
Journal Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies
Early online date8 Apr 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 8 Apr 2021

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