Integration of Refugees in Croatia – A Qualitative Study of the Integration Process and Intergroup Relations of Refugees from Syria

Jana Kiralj, Dean Ajduković

Abstract


Based on the theoretical model of multidimensional, two-way,
dynamic integration of refugee and host community, a qualitative study was done determining views on and experiences with
integration of refugees from Syria and the host community in
Croatia. Five focus group discussions were held, three with host
members (N = 21) and two with refugees from Syria (N = 11).
Four overarching themes emerged from the data in both groups:
"Perspectives on integration", "Socioeconomic integration", "Intergroup relations", and "Culture, language and social obstacles to
integration". They appeared consistently throughout discussions,
with hosts and refugees providing a consensual view of refugee
integration. They understood integration in the same way and
recognised the need for both groups to adapt as part of the integration process. Croatia was perceived as a transit country
and a temporary solution for refugees, which is an obstacle to
integration. Emphasis was placed on the intergroup relations
and the responsibility of the host society in providing tools and
mechanisms that foster socio-economic and socio-psychological
integration, overcome structural barriers and promote pleasant
social contexts.

Keywords


refugees; asylum seekers; integration; attitudes; intergroup contact

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Print ISSN 1330-0288 | Online ISSN 1848-6096