Reciprocity for new migrant integration: resource conservation, investment and exchange
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In this paper we bring a new perspective to the understanding of migrant integration. We focus on how new migrants use reciprocity to make and sustain connections. In turn, we identify integration resources accessed through those connections and associated acts of reciprocal exchange. Using qualitative data collected in retrospective interviews from a maximum variation sample of new migrants arriving in the UK up to two years before interview we identify five interconnected sub-types of reciprocity and explore how these are used to replace or substitute resources lost through the act of migration. We argue that, contrary to Hobfoll’s (2011) ideas about conservation of resources in crisis, migrants use resource exchange strategies to develop social networks which may form important buffers against migratory stress and aid access to functional, psychological and affective resources that can further integration. The paper concludes by highlighting the significance of reciprocity in moving the theorisation of integration in new a new direction.