Date of Award

May 2018

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


African American Studies


Herbert G. Ruffin


Boston, Congolese, migration, refugee community organizations, refugee resettlement, refugees

Subject Categories

Social and Behavioral Sciences


For refugees that have been resettled into hostland nations, the creation of formal refugee community organizations (RCOs) dedicated to assisting immigrants represents a grassroots response to the stresses of migration. Despite their importance to the lives of refugees, RCOs have received little scholarly attention in the United States. Even less attention has been dedicated to studying the role of RCOs for African peoples. This research seeks to address these gaps in scholarship by analyzing community understandings of one RCO, the Congolese Development Center, among the Congolese refugee community located in the North Shore region of Massachusetts. Using qualitative ethnographic data, this research interrogates the interface between the organizational behaviors of the community and the societal structures that impact social organization, including global capitalism, systemic racism, heteropatriarchy, and neoliberal governance pressures. My findings suggest that these systems of marginalization and oppression fragment communities and exert pressure on the individuals and organizations at the bottom of the resettlement chain, replicating inequalities and limiting the ability of refugee communities to address the problems they face.


Open Access



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