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The Role of Everyday Spaces of Learning for Refugee Youth

The Power of Resistance

ISBN: 978-1-78350-461-9, eISBN: 978-1-78350-462-6

Publication date: 12 September 2017


Recent figures show that half the world’s refugees are children, with young people now representing more than 50 percent of victims of global armed conflict and displaced persons. Increasing numbers of refugee youth are entering their host nations’ compulsory and postcompulsory educational systems having experienced frequent resettlements and disrupted education, which in turn, pose major barriers for educational and future employment. The consequences of these experiences raise pressing equity implications for educators and educational systems. However, the picture is not uniformly bleak. Employing Bourdieu’s thinking tools of habitus, field and capital, Yosso’s concepts of community cultural wealth and photovoice methods, this chapter draws on studies of refugee youth of both genders from diverse ethnic and faith backgrounds, conducted in regional Australia. It examines how everyday spaces for learning, for example, church, faith-based and sporting groups and family can play a crucial role in enabling young people to build powerful forms of social and cultural capital necessary to successfully access and negotiate formal education and training settings. Its findings suggest first that everyday spaces can act as rich sites of informal learning, which young refugee people draw upon to advance their life chances, employability, and social inclusion. Second, they suggest that how one’s gender and “race” intersect may have important implications for how refugee youth access social and cultural capital in these everyday spaces as they navigate between informal learning and formal educational settings.



Wilkinson, J. and Lloyd-Zantiotis, A. (2017), "The Role of Everyday Spaces of Learning for Refugee Youth", The Power of Resistance (Advances in Education in Diverse Communities, Vol. 12), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 383-408.



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