Accessing Resources in Arrival Neighbourhoods: How Foci-Aided Encounters Offer Resources to Newcomers
Numerous studies have stressed the importance of social networks for the transfer of resources. This article focuses on recently arrived immigrants with few locally embedded network contacts, analysing how they draw on arrival-specific resources in their daily routines. The qualitative research in an arrival neighbourhood in a German city illustrates that routinised and spontaneous foci-aided encounters in semi-public spaces play an important role for newcomers in providing access to arrival-specific knowledge. The article draws on the concept of ‘micro publics,’ highlighting different settings facilitating interactions and resource transfers. Based on our research we developed a classification of different types of encounter that enable resource transfer. The article specifically focuses on foci-aided encounters, as these appear to have a great impact on newcomers’ access to resources. Institutionalised to varying degrees, these settings, ranging from local mosques to football grounds, facilitate interaction between ‘old’ and ‘new’ immigrants. Interviews reveal forms of solidarity between immigrants and how arrival-specific information relevant to ‘navigating the system’ gets transferred. Interestingly, reciprocity plays a role in resource transfers also via routinised and spontaneous foci-aided encounters.
© Nils Hans, Heike Hanhörster. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.