Purpose. This article explores how newly-arrived children with a refugee background describe their everyday lives in the Netherlands, with a focus on how they perceive their peer relations and the broader social climate in the host country. Methods. In this case study, focus groups were conducted with 46 Syrian-born children with a refugee background, ranging between the ages of 8 to 17 years old. All participants have a temporary residence permit and live in Rotterdam together with (part of) their family. A board game was developed as a research tool to stimulate children to share their perspectives on their friends and experiences with inclusion and exclusion. Results. An important finding is that all of the children have friends in the Netherlands. The majority of their friends have an Arab background, and different reasons for this composition are discussed. Furthermore, although all of the children expressed that they feel welcome in Dutch society, they had also encountered exclusion, which generates emotional responses. Conclusion. Using a theoretical boundary perspective, we show that children are involuntarily subjected to symbolic boundary drawing by others, while taking part in boundary work themselves too. Within the domains of the children’s social networks and the broader social climate in the Netherlands, we further examined the relations between symbolic and social boundaries.

dx.doi.org/10.1080/17482631.2020.1721985, hdl.handle.net/1765/132398
International Journal of Qualitative Studies on Health and Well-Being

van der Ent, B.J., Dagevos, J.M, & Stam, T. (2020). Syrian-born children with a refugee background in Rotterdam. A child-centred approach to explore their social contacts and the experienced social climate in the Netherlands. International Journal of Qualitative Studies on Health and Well-Being, 15(2). doi:10.1080/17482631.2020.1721985