Is the career capital of refugees welcome? Afghan and Syrian refugee job seekers in Austria

Aktivität: Gespräch oder VortragVortrag


This study explores how refugees relocate, acquire, and convert cultural, social, and economic capital when entering the Austrian labor market. Drawing on Bourdieu’s theory of practice, we conducted 35 semi-structured interviews with Afghan and Syrian refugee job seekers in the winter of 2016/2017. We use these interviews to investigate how the value of the capital forms changes when they move to a culturally distant field, and what strategies they use to develop their career capital portfolio. Findings reveal that (a) all capital forms are strongly devaluated; (b) refugees striving to use their cultural capital encounter unfamiliar labor market rules, occupational identity threats, and status loss; (c) acquisition and conversion of new capital require both the intricate interplay of capital forms and the refugees’ proactivity. The paper concludes with a discussion of theoretical contributions and practical implications for refugee labor market integration.
Zeitraum5 Dez. 20187 Dez. 2018
Ereignistitel5. Jahrestagung der Migrations- und Integrationsforschung in Österreich