RefugeesIN Theoretical Framework

RefugeesIN promotes social inclusion through media, in particular through films and documentaries showing possible role models for refugees. Social inclusion is defined as the process of improving how individuals and groups participate in society, that is, improving the ability, opportunity, and dignity of those disadvantaged on the basis of their identity (RefugeesIN Manual pp. 16). It tends to be measured by poverty and living conditions, access to work, and education (EUROSTAT, 2015). To Heckmann (2001) Social Inclusion is a multidimensional construct consisting of four dimensions: structural, cultural, social, and personal. This served as a determining factor on whether a former refugee would be a good candidate to become a role-model in the RefugeesIN project.

Furthermore, RefugeesIN uses Learning theories, such as Bandura’s (1977) Social Learning Theory and Mezirow’s (1991) Transformative Learning, as a way to foster refugees’ identification with another that thrived and therefore believe themselves capable of achieving just as much or even more, explicitly, to empathize with a Role Model and enable learning. On the other hand, it also raises the majority culture’s awareness about refugees’ experiences and, hence, allows them to develop competencies with refugees and dismantle possible prejudice.

According to Price-Mitchell (2010) a Role Model is someone whose behavior, example, and success are or can inspire and be emulated by others, in particular younger people. The author further describes five qualities of role models: passion and ability to inspire, clear set of values, commitment to community, selflessness and acceptance of others, and ability to overcome obstacles. These characteristics had to be shown by the interviewees for them to be good candidates for the RefugeesIN project, after all they were meant to be Role Models to other refugees and, therefore, serve as inspiration and aid them in their path to Social Inclusion in their respective host countries.


  • Bandura, A. (1977). Social learning theory. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.
  • EUROSTAT (2015). Sustainable development in the European Union: 2015 monitoring report of the EU Sustainable Development Strategy. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union.
  • Heckmann, F. (2001). From ethnic nation to universalistic immigrant integration: Germany. In F. Heckmann & D. Schnapper (Eds.), The integration of immigrants in European societies: National differences and trends of convergence (pp. 45-78). Stuttgart: Lucius & Lucius.
  • Mezirow, J. (1991). Transformative dimensions of adult learning. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
  • Price-Mitchell, M. (2010). Civic learning at the edge: Transformative stories of highly engaged youth. Doctoral Dissertation, Fielding Graduate University, Santa Barbara, CA.
  • RefugeesIN (2017). RefugeesIN Manual.

erasmusThis project has been funded with support from the European Commission.
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