From Education to Trickle-up Transformation: Assessing the Potentials of Educational Refugee Programmes in Mediating Public Dutch Integration Discourse – Maia Brons (November 2019)
In response to increased refugee influxes, public Dutch integration discourse has become heavily politicised and polarised. Whilst progressing ethno-cultural stigmatisation and marginalisation of refugees demand urgent change, public efforts are feverishly targeted at finding the best methods to integrate them into our society. This thesis identifies a discursive deadlock, in which integration debates stand rooted in paradigmatic ethno-cultural essentialisms and binary identity politics. This thesis investigates the possibilities of navigating a paradigmatic shift out of this bounded discursive space – towards a more balanced, multifaceted rhetoric. Answering to the lack of research proposing concrete solutions, this thesis argues that educational refugee programmes yield properties which can mediate paradigmatic change. With interviews of refugee education experts as the main data source, this thesis concludes that cross-cultural understanding, discursive contemplation and refugee empowerment, facilitated in the micro-environments of educational programmes, can incite a trickle-up transformation of public Dutch integration discourse.
public Dutch integration discourse, cultural essentialism, identity politics, ethno-cultural marginalisation, multiculturalism, refugee education