Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2803

Article | Open Access

Networks Amongst Syrians: Situated Migrant Positionalities and the Impact on Relational Embedding

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Abstract:  This article employs Yuval‐Davis concept of situated intersectionality to explore processes of relational embedding amongst Syrian migrants in the UK. By drawing on in‐depth interview data from 31 men and women living in North East England, we explore how varying social categories—or positionalities—intersect and shape personal networks and feelings of attachment amongst Syrians. We show how wider structural contexts and systems of social relations shape migrants’ sense of belonging and attachment which can serve to enhance or weaken opportunities for social and economic inclusion. The findings reveal how, for Syrian migrants, wider macro level contexts determine immigration and asylum routes which in turn shape place‐specific opportunity structures that impact on micro individual level processes of relational embedding. We develop the term “migrant positionalities” as a social category to capture the multiple experiences of migration and asylum and the power dynamics that determine opportunity structures and processes of embedding. We contribute to the debates in this field by demonstrating how the wider structural context can lead to a multiplicity of immigration and asylum experiences for individuals, resulting in differences in support and rights that go on to shape processes of embedding and personal networks. By employing a situated intersectional lens, we also demonstrate how and why processes of relational embedding differ amongst migrants of the same nationality on the basis of social positionings such as ethnicity, class, and religion, that are situated in context, time, and space.

Keywords:  migrant positionalities; relational embedding; situated intersectionality; Syrian networks



© Francesca Speed, Tracy Scurry, Peter Edward, Mona Moufahim. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.