Communication Studies, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in International Journal of Communication, Vol 4 (2010). Copyright © 2010 (Sarah J. Steimel). Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives (by-nc-nd). Available at

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An increasing number of global migrants are refugees who have fled religious, racial, ethnic, or other political persecution. As these refugee populations have grown, governmental and nonprofit organizations have emerged to help mediate the resettlement experience. The current study explores the dialectical tensions Sudanese refugees face in communicating with the organizations designed to make their resettlement successful. Sudanese refugees participated in semistructured interviews about their experiences communicating with mediating organizations. Four dialectical tensions emerged from participants’ stories about their communication in and with mediating organizations: (a) dissemination and dialogue, (b) emancipation and control, (c) empowerment and oppression, and (d) integration and separation. Taken as a totality, these challenges both replicate and extend existing organizational empowerment research.