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About us Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies Organization Staff PhD Research Comparative Study of Religion

Saara Toukolehto

Conceptualizing 'good life' in times of change: interaction between refugees and their immigrant mentors

After the arrival of an estimated 80,000 refugees in Berlin in 2015 The Berlin Senate directed more finances to integration measures, and outlined guidelines for successful integration such as language learning and integration to the job market. Additionally, the Senate emphasized shared democratic “core values” that have to be accepted by immigrants.

Through ethnographic fieldwork, I investigate refugees’ processes of adjustment to their new environment in Berlin. I focus on sociocultural change and identity transformation by scrutinizing the interaction that takes place between refugees and immigrants already settled in the city, who are now engaging in social work and civil activism in support of the new arrivals. For a lack of a better term I call them ‘immigrant mentors’.

The study elaborates on social scientific understandings of values and morality as analytical concepts that play a crucial role in the conceptualization of sociocultural change and forms of cultural continuity. I look at the dynamic nature of worldviews and the idea of good life as a realization of core values in relation to conceptualizations of integration and the role values play in it.

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Last modified:20 November 2019 7.28 p.m.