Chapter 9: Embracing a New Home: Resettlement Research and the Family

Blendine Perreire Hawkins (Family Social Science, University of Minnesota) and Jaime Ballard (Family Social Science, University of Minnesota)

Introduction

The movement of people to the United States from all parts of the world has resulted in a very diverse and ever-evolving nation that can perhaps be described as a mosaic of cultures, races, and ethnicities. How does a nation achieve social cohesion in the midst of evolving diversity? How do individuals and families hold the complexities of honoring their home culture and reaching their goals in the new country and culture?

Because migration experiences are diverse, the process of resettlement is also varied and must be examined through lenses of race, ethnicity, nativity, gender, political orientation, religion, and sexuality, among others. In this chapter, we will conduct a historical review of the theories that have been used to assess the processes of resettlement. We begin by describing assimilation, acculturation, and multiculturalism – early theories that emphasized group processes. We will then describe the transition to intersectionality, and its focus on individual process. Finally, we will identify family theories and their potential role in the future of research on resettlement.