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Power and politics in resettlement: a case study of Bhutanese refugees in the USA

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Introduction

This paper examines the complexities in the resettlement of Bhutanese refugees. It explores the power dynamics between the employees of a refugee resettlement organization and the refugees and analyses the intricate webs of power within different institutions, such as local NGOs and healthcare institutions. The study is based on 9-weeks of ethnographic research conducted in Lexington in the summer of 2009. It addresses three questions: What are the structural discontinuities in resettlement? Are the expectations and ambitions of resettlement organization different from those of the Bhutanese refugees? If so, how are refugees impacted by these differences?