Negotiated Gratitude: Resettled Refugees and Social Support

Master's Thesis


Theory in the sociology of emotion suggests that receiving help from a position of relative lack ? with no ability to reciprocate ? should lead to negative emotions. How, then, does one sustain flexibility through positive emotions while receiving significant support even for the most basic material needs? This paper presents a case of a group who are able to negotiate a web of negative emotions and generate the flexibility needed to pursue long-term goals. Using interviews with 14 recently resettled refugees, I find that gratitude, surprisingly, is associated with capacity to generate and sustain flexibility and positive disposition. Gratitude and flexibility seem to open opportunities in a new context without denying the incredible difficulty of the challenges of the first months and years of resettlement. This study has implications for the study of emotion in situations of resource deprivation and policy implications regarding the resettlement process.


Attribute NameValues
  • etd-04202015-175008

Author Benjamin Chleboun
Advisor Erika Summers-Effler
Contributor Erika Summers-Effler, Committee Chair
Degree Level Master's Thesis
Degree Discipline Sociology
Degree Name Master of Arts
Defense Date
  • 2014-10-17

Submission Date 2015-04-20
  • United States of America

  • resources

  • adaptation

  • Emotion

  • aid reception

  • University of Notre Dame

  • English

Record Visibility Public
Content License
  • All rights reserved

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