Interrogating Social Exclusion and Inclusion among Syrian Refugee Youth in Ontario

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 10:45
Oral Presentation
Luann GOOD GINGRICH, York University, Canada
Naomi LIGHTMAN, University of Calgary, Canada
Definitions and measures of “integration” in Global North societies often presume a binary relationship between exclusion and inclusion, choice and force, and apply an individual categorical point of view to evaluate success and entitlement. Yet the social defiance of binaries belies such commonplace assumptions. This paper explores the “methodology paradox” of cognitive structures and legal categories organizing refugee research and policy, in an effort to move beyond binary inclusion/exclusion frameworks and reconfigure the focus to the analysis of social systems. Drawing on focus group data with Syrian refugee newcomer youth recently resettled in Canada, we conceptually map “symbolic economies” (Bourdieu) in which they engage, including school, work, and social networks. We also examine expressed fears, hopes and disappointments in resettlement. Their narratives speak of “unfavourable inclusion”, citizenship capital, and double binds, offering an unusual opportunity to study the intersecting global and local forces of social exclusion within a fused market-state social field (Good Gingrich, 2016) and their paradoxical outcomes.