Refugees come in contact with a new culture once relocated to another country different from their own. They are therefore faced with the task of negotiating their own cultural identity in a new location. This study looks at how the Somali refugee women in Columbus, Ohio, address this task of negotiating and maintaining certain aspects of their culture. Through in-depth interviews, five Somali women in Columbus were asked to share their narratives. The women experience a shift in the structure of their families which now exist transnationally. This in turn decreases the ability for the extended family to fulfill their role as social supporters, and changes the structure of the household in Columbus. With this lost, the women play a vital role in choosing which aspects of their culture are sustained. Their religion, dress, language and food are selected as the necessary attributes to preserve. The women are therefore the keepers of their culture.


Frese, Pamela


Sociology and Anthropology



Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2012 Morag M.M. Neill