Creating a bridge: an asylum seekers ideas for social inclusion

Christina Jessen-Winge, Anne-Le Morville

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Background: Asylum seekers often experience social exclusion, beyond work and productivity. For this group, social inclusion is needed in order to participate in their new society and regain control over daily life and occupations, as well as prevent health problems. Social inclusion has been discussed within occupational science, and a collaborative approach such as the Participatory Occupational Justice Framework recommended to be followed. However, there is still a lack of understanding of the asylum seekers’ perspective on social inclusion, which this article begins to address through the lived experience of one participant. Method: Framed as a phenomenological study, data were collected through interview and articles written by the asylum-seeking participant. The data were analysed using Giorgi’s method as modified by Malterud (2017). Results: The participant’s ideas revolved around the components of Bogeas and colleague’s (2017) description of social inclusion and revealed the problems that he experienced daily in the asylum centre. His suggestions for change and social inclusion included the need for asylum seekers to take part in the daily work in the centre, establishing channels of information, and a residents’ council to support collaboration with the local population. The participant stressed that social inclusion should be a two-way process, with both sides taking responsibility for working with the challenges. Conclusion: Although there are objective conditions that might limit social inclusion, a collaborative and participatory approach offers the opportunity for social inclusion and participation in occupation. Employing such an approach would facilitate the health, well-being, and inclusion of asylum seekers; and promote occupational justice for an otherwise marginalised population.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Occupational Science
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)53-64
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2019


  • occupational therapy
  • Asylum seekers
  • Occupational deprivation
  • Occupational justice
  • Occupational science
  • Refugees
  • Social inclusion


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