07 SES 14 A, Refugees in/and Education throughout the 20th Century in Europe. Re- and Deconstructions of Discourses and Practices in Educational Contexts
The first 56 quota refugees invited by the Icelandic government to settle in Iceland were from Hungary. Since then many more refugees have been offered refuge in Iceland. By 2017, 704 refugees were living in Iceland from 13 different countries in Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and South America (Félagsmálaráðuneytið Íslands). The paper presents findings of the social, cultural, and educational acculturation processes of Vietnamese refugees in 1979 and early 1990s and Syrian refugees in 2016, with a special focus on education. The method includes 20 semi-structured interviews with Vietnamese and Syrian refugees. Thematic analysis was used to analyse the data (Braun and Clarke, 2006). Although, many refugee experiences are defined by tragedies of war, disasters, and poverty, refugees share many experiences with immigrants, as both groups work to integrate in the host country where the culture and language are foreign to them. International research has documented that the immigrants’ identities are transferred and transformed throughout time and over generations. The immigrants’ outcomes are the combined products of the structures and practices which they encounter in a new country and their own behaviour of how they manipulate their social, cultural, and educational background resource, for their own advantage (Brettel and Hollifield, 2015). Previous research on immigrant youth, particularly students of Vietnamese background, has found that they were vulnerable to being disadvantaged because of their ethnic, cultural, and linguistic differences (Tran and Ragnarsdottir, 2018). The study is grounded in the framework of multicultural education and intersectional theories. Multicultural education theory is inclusive, insisting on valuing diversity and equal opportunity regardless of gender, religion, belief, ethnicity, race, socioeconomic status, disability, or any other status (Banks, 2015). Intersectionality theory recognizes multiple and flexible identities and critically explores the intersections of these various dimensions of social relationships (McCall, 2005). The findings indicate that the refugees have to some extent successfully integrated in Icelandic society. Even though a few of them have attended higher education, many of them struggle educationally at all school levels. The lack of Icelandic support and enrichment, and social isolation from their Icelandic peers, were expressed as reasons. The research contributes to the existing body of Icelandic research on how refugees acculturate to Icelandic society and their perceptions of how the society has responded to their presence educationally, socially, and linguistically.
Banks, James A. 2015. “Multicultural education: Characteristics and goals.” In Multicultural Education: Issues and Perspectives, edited by James A. Banks and Cherry A. McGee Banks, 3–23. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons. Braun, V., Clarke, V. (2006) Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3 (2). pp.77-101. Brettel, C. B., & Hollifield, J. F. (2015). Introduction. In C. B. Brettel & J. F. Hollifield (Eds.), Migration theory: Talking across discipline (3rd ed., pp. 1-36). New York and London: Routledge. Félagsmálaráðuneytið. Flóttafólk. Retrieved from https://www.stjornarradid.is/verkefni/utlendingar/flottafolk/fjoldi-flottamanna/ Banks, James A. 2015. “Multicultural education: Characteristics and goals.” In Multicultural Education: Issues and Perspectives, edited by James A. Banks and Cherry A. McGee Banks, 3–23. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons. Tran, A-D. & Ragnarsdóttir, H. (2018). Students of Vietnamese Heritage: What Are Their Academic Experiences in Icelandic Upper Secondary Schools? International Journal of Bias, Identity and Diversity in Education, 3(2), 16-30.
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