(Inter)disciplinary research and practice with refugees resettling in Europe: the need for a ‘phronetic’ social science


This paper draws on a systematic literature review in the area of refugee resettlement and adaptation and argues against the polarity found between the various disciplines working in this field.

The resettlement and adaptation of refugees in Europe is undoubtedly a complex issue which calls for interdisciplinary research and practice. Yet when reviewing the relevant literature the following dualism emerges: on the one hand, there is material concerning theoretical know why (such as psychological and sociological studies which theorise why the majority of refugees experience post-migration adversity and disadvantage) and on the other hand there is material focusing on technical know how (such as studies from the fields of social work and healthcare which explore the most efficient psychosocial interventions for different groups of refugees). These two types of knowledge- the theoretical and the technical- refer to what Aristotle defined as ‘episteme' and ‘techne'. There is also a third intellectual virtue Aristotle called ‘phronesis': phronesis refers to the ethically practical and is the intellectual activity most relevant to social action, which can improve people's lives and contribute to societies' development (Flyvbjerg et al., 2012). Phronesis is missing from contemporary social sciences (Flyvbjerg, 2001) and from refugee studies as well.

The present paper highlights this, by systematically reviewing the past decade's literature on the theme of refugee resettlement and adaptation in Europe. It concludes by suggesting a ‘phronetic' turn in research and practice in this field, so that refugee peoples and sending and receiving societies benefit the most.

Author Information
Maria Psoinos, St George's, University of London and Kingston University, United Kingdom

Paper Information
Conference: ECSS2013
Stream: Social Sciences

This paper is part of the ECSS2013 Conference Proceedings (View)
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To cite this article:
Psoinos M. (2013) (Inter)disciplinary research and practice with refugees resettling in Europe: the need for a ‘phronetic’ social science ISSN: 2188-1154 – The European Conference on the Social Sciences 2013 – Official Conference Proceedings https://doi.org/10.22492/2188-1154.20130072
To link to this article: https://doi.org/10.22492/2188-1154.20130072

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Posted by James Alexander Gordon