Refugees in search of autonomy: processes of inclusion and exclusion

Principal researcher: Cristina Santinho

Research group: Governance, Policies and Livelihoods


Refugees | Integration | Autonomy | Education | Employment | Future

Funding Institution

Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT)



Start date


End date



DL 57/2016/CP1349/CT0004


My current research project is an analysis of the policies and practices of reception and integration of refugees. While I focus on reactions of Portuguese society to refugees, I also research on the strategies they use to achieve autonomy, agency and dignity. My objective is to understand what personal, cultural, social, institutional and ideological motivations underlie society's hospitality towards refugees, but also what provoke hostilities. To achieve this goal, and considering the current context of the country, I intend to focus my research on the analysis of "integration" processes, regarding specifically refugees' access to education, particularly higher education, as well as access to the job market. In what way do refugees (man and women) project themselves in the future taking into account the diversity and heterogeneity of their past and present life stories? What responses have been given by state, institutional and social policies and practices to this refugee yearning? Do they dialogue with the refugees' desire for autonomy? Do they consider the contributions that they can bring to society? I also intend to contribute to the development of academic dialogues on the subject, both on national and international levels (project development, academic papers, participation in congresses and seminars). It is expected that the results can serve as basis for policy making, promoting a better social integration of refugees.