Ambiguous loss of home: Syrian refugees and the process of losing and remaking home
This study conducted in collaboration with the Center for Victims of Torture examined social-relational change and loss following experiences of political terror, war, and forced migration from the perspective of Syrian men and women with refugee status who were living in Jordan. We developed an ambiguous loss of home model to conceptualize the complicated and cyclical process of losing and remaking a multidimensional sense of home in displacement. Findings suggest the need for integrative, place-based policies and practices that attend to diverse and chronic loss experiences, and which support mental health, social stability, and integration into host communities.
This constructivist-interpretive study examines social-relational dimensions of change and loss following experiences of political terror, war and forced migration from the perspective of Syrian refugee men and women who were presently living in Jordan (n=31). A process model derived from the analysis theorizes four dimensions of ambiguous loss (safety and security, social connections and identities, connection to place, and dreams and imagined future) and to capture the cyclical process of losing and remaking a sense of home in displacement. Our findings underscore a more complex set of processes that remain outside the array of supports and services provided by many current practices and policies with displaced populations generally, and Syrian refugees specifically. Thus, the findings highlight the need for ecological, integrative policies, interventions and services that support refugees’ attempts to remake the multifaceted and stable phenomenon that is home as they transition into new communities.
Citation: Bunn, M., Samuels, G., & Higson-Smith, C. (2023). Ambiguous loss of home: Syrian refugees and the process of losing and remaking home. Wellbeing, Space and Society, Volume 4, 100136,
ISSN 2666-5581, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wss.2023.100136.
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