‘We do things together': exploring a household perspective on early integration processes of recent refugees

Jolien Klok*, Jaco Dagevos

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


People are not isolated, but embedded in ongoing social networks of which the household is a crucial one. Yet, integration trajectories and outcomes are often measured and evaluated on the individual level. To nuance previous research’ preoccupation with a somewhat disconnected individual, we explore a household perspective to better understand early integration trajectories. We depart from the idea that refugees regard their direct families extremely important in early settlement times and employ the notion of embeddedness and the Family Investment Model to guide this investigation. Based on qualitative work among recent Syrian refugees to the Netherlands, we showcase four particular stories that reveal that individual integration trajectories are (also) the product of the households in which these are embedded as individuals exchange integration goals among each other and view integration as a joint venture of all household members. A household perspective succeeds to uncover important mechanisms in integration processes, most notably the fact that the expectations and ambitions that refugees set for themselves and their families is an important driver of individual integration trajectories. We conclude that the integration of individuals needs to be considered more often in the context of households in order to better understand and support them.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4333-4351
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Ethnic and Migration Studies
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • embeddedness
  • FIM
  • households
  • Integration
  • refugees


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