Date of Award:

2014

Document Type:

Dissertation

Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department:

Environment and Society

Advisor/Chair:

Ann Laudati

Abstract

This research project was designed to analyze the relevance of place and the physical environment to the adjustment processes of refugees. This dissertation contains the results of qualitative research with a group of 30 refugee urban farmers living in Salt Lake City, Utah. Seventeen of these individuals—from Burundi, Sudan, Bhutan, the Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Chad, and Cuba—participated in interviews and a photography project focused on their experiences with agriculture in their home countries and since their arrival in Utah. The results of the research show the connection between the refugees’ work as farmers and their sense of place since arriving in the United States. Participants reported material and emotional benefits from their farming work, as well as challenges. The research results also provide insight into the process of cultural hybridization and cross-cultural exchange experienced by the participants. A discussion of some challenges inherent in doing research with refugees is included, and policy implications and suggestions for further research are discussed.

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