Between self, family and society: Syrian male perspectives on intimate partner relationship negotiation in The Netherlands


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This paper seeks to disentangle gendered perspectives on intimate partner relationships after forced migration. It targets lived experiences of young Syrian men in the Netherlands (18-35 years old) and explores the extent to which attitudes, traditions and behaviours in relation to gender- and partner roles are contested, re-produced or transformed in the context of societal change. The study employs a qualitative life course perspective, using interdisciplinary social theory to flesh out the interplay of relevant micro- and macro processes in which intimate partner relationship attitudes, traditions and behaviours are defined. We draw from narrative interviews, themed around core life course principles such as agency, linked lives, and time and place, and use narrative analyses. The paper offers two main contributions. First, we demonstrate that intimate partner relationship negotiation after forced migration is a nuanced, complex and ambiguous process, conditioned by intersections of self, family and society, personal biographies and culturally defined agentic behavior. Hence, the paper stimulates incorporating interdisciplinary social theory in migration research to more adequately capture intercultural experiences of migrants. Second, by scrutinising divergent experiences and strategies, we challenge one-sided, static accounts of immigrant men, and emphasise respondents are active agents that negotiate their contextual positions in the Netherlands as intimate partners, husband and fathers.
Originele taal-2English
Plaats van productieThe Hague
UitgeverNetherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI)
StatusPublished - 2020

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NaamWorking Paper

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