Based upon fieldwork conducted amongst Somalis and Kurds in London, this paper examines the origin and role of community associations in both groups with a focus on the differential capacity of the groups to utilize public space. The contrast between the Somalis and Kurds is initially drawn in terms of Kunz's typology of refugee groups which emphasizes their relation to the political conflict in the country of origin. In the current research group-wide typological analysis has proven less viable than a focus on the divisions within refugee communities. While the fragmentary forms of community organization amongst Somalis provides a strong contrast to the consolidation of the associations in the Turkish Kurdish community, both lack group-wide forms of solidarity. Factors encountered in the local settlement context, as well as the specific identities and aspirations of the refugess themselves, are shown to be vital to the resettlement process.
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