Socio-cultural starting positions among recently arrived Syrian refugees in the Netherlands: A latent class analysis

Elsevier, International Journal of Intercultural Relations, Volume 87, March 2022
Damen R., Huijnk W., Dagevos J.
Although changes in socio-cultural positions appear to take place shortly after arrival, there is a growing concern on socio-cultural differences in receiving societies and it is widely recognized that socio-cultural positions are important for further participation and well-being, few scholars examined socio-cultural positions among recently arrived refugees in Europe. At the same time, not much is known about how these positions relate to pre-migration, migration and post-migration characteristics, while these could be key indicators of early acculturation. This study explores Syrian refugees’ socio-cultural starting positions by using a unique dataset including 3209 Syrian refugees in the Netherlands from which we develop a typology based on various indicators: Syrian's social contacts, emotional ties and cultural value orientation, both within and outside their origin group. A Latent Class Analysis showed that though Syrian refugees have been in the Netherlands shortly, they can be divided into three distinct socio-cultural types; the ‘origin secured’, ‘double bonds’ and ‘destination focused’ type. Latent class regression analysis provided insight into pre-migration, migration and post-migration indicators associated with Syrian's socio-cultural types. Having attended university before arrival, experiencing acceptance by receiving society members, being mentally stable and speaking Dutch indicated socio-cultural embedding (the ‘destination focused’ type). Syrians who were students in Syria, stayed in reception longer and participated in activities less and those who were not going to school in the Netherlands were more likely to belong to the ‘origin secured’ type.