Document Type

Thesis

Degree

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Latin American and Caribbean Studies

First Advisor's Name

Victor Uribe

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Michael W. Collier

Third Advisor's Name

Eduardo Gamarra

Date of Defense

3-30-2006

Abstract

This qualitative study, based on interviews to 17 refugee families, attempts to identify the reasons behind the lack of integration of Colombian refugees in Costa Rica. The model of Immigrant Modes of Incorporation and the studies of Alejandro Portes and Julia Sensenbrenner about the sources of social capital on migrant communities provided the theoretical framework used to identify the roots of the integration challenges. The findings suggest that Costa Rican policies towards the reception and integration of Colombian refugees are exclusionary. The host labor market is marked by sentiments of xenophobia towards the sample population while reported cases of persecution in the country also inhibit this population's economic integration. The lack of social capital sources contributes to inhibit this community's development, despite their participation in informal networks. There were signs of collective action. Yet, the refugee community fails to come together, while it also seems alienated from the community of Colombian entrepreneurs in Costa Rica.

Identifier

FI14051191

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